NPS Media Releases

21 MAY 2015

As part of its ‘Winter is Coming’ initiative this May, NPS MedicineWise is urging people to take make a renewed pledge to help fight antibiotic resistance this cold and flu season.

NPS MedicineWise Clinical Adviser Dr Jeannie Yoo says that it’s understandable that as cold and flu season approaches, people are looking for ways to help themselves and their families feel better when they’re unwell. However, for those of us with infections due to common winter viruses, but who are otherwise healthy, antibiotics are not the answer.

“Using antibiotics when you don’t need to could make them less effective when you do,” says Dr Yoo.

“So this winter we’re urging people to not ask for antibiotics when they don’t need them and to let their doctor know that they only want antibiotics if they are truly necessary.

“Instead, use common sense ways of managing your cold and flu symptoms, including plenty of rest and fluids, and only see your doctor if you feel your symptoms are severe or are not improving. You may want to consider getting a flu vaccination now to reduce your risk of a serious bout of flu as the winter season nears.”

A 2014 NPS MedicineWise survey* showed that 1 in 5 Australians expect antibiotics for viruses like a cold or flu, and 17% would ask a doctor to prescribe antibiotics even though these medicines won’t work on a viral infection.

“Antibiotic resistance isn’t a future problem—it’s here now,” says Dr Yoo.

“If you or a member of your family develop an antibiotic resistant infection, chances are you may have the infection for longer, are more likely to have complications from the infection, and could pass your infection to other people. Of key concern is the fact that some antibiotic resistant infections could become untreatable.

“It’s absolutely crucial that Australians start to realise that steps they take each winter can make a difference when it comes to reducing the spread of antibiotic resistance.”

NPS MedicineWise is urging people to head to its new campaign website to take the pledge to join the fight against antibiotic resistance by committing to the following:

  • I will not ask for antibiotics for colds and the flu as they have no effect on viruses
  • I understand that antibiotics will not help me recover faster from a viral infection
  • I will only take antibiotics in the way they have been prescribed
  • I understand that it is possible to pass on antibiotic resistant bacteria to others
  • I will make a greater effort to prevent the spread of germs by practising good hygiene

As well, a $10,000 prize pool is also up for grabs this month with the #savethescript short film competition, launched in conjunction with Tropfest, the world’s largest short film festival. Filmmakers are invited to enter a 45-second film to spread the word about antibiotic resistance, with entries closing on May 31.

To find out more about the ‘Winter is coming’ initiative and enter the #savethescript short film competition, visit

*Source: NPS MedicineWise evaluation research conducted in September 2014. The research consisted of a National GP Survey (625 respondents), a National Consumer Survey (332 respondents), semi-structured interviews with general practitioners (32) and consumer focus groups (28 participants).

18 MAY 2015

Health professionals are at the coalface of dealing with antibiotic resistance and, significantly more than most, hold insights into its potential implications.

This May, NPS MedicineWise is asking health professionals to explore new avenues to spark conversations about this serious health issue.

Health professionals and health professional students are encouraged to make a short film or community service announcement of up to 45 seconds to help spread the word about antibiotic resistance and be in the running to win part of a $10,000 prize pool.

The prizes are being offered as part of the #savethescript short film competition; a partnership between NPS MedicineWise and Tropfest to encourage creative individuals or groups to help spread a vital health message to Australians.

New warnings released last week in the third interim report from the independent Review on Antimicrobial Resistance commissioned by the UK Government have described antibiotic resistance as ‘a global public health threat [which] should arguably receive the same kind of public focus HIV/AIDS received in the 1990s or cancer research receives today’.

The #savethescript brief is to make a short film on any camera (including smartphone cameras) about the threat of antibiotic resistance. Create it on your own or collaborate with colleagues.

To submit, upload your short film to one of your social media accounts such as Vimeo, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, make sure the film is available for public viewing, tag @NPSMedicineWise and include the hashtag #savethescript in the description.

As well as the $10,000 prize pool and the opportunity to deliver an important health message to Australians, Tropfest and NPSMedicineWise are offering global exposure for the winning films via Tropfest’s platforms.

Entries close at 5:00pm AEST on 31 May 2015.

To find out more about #savethescript, visit

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