Assessing the public acceptability of proposed policy interventions to reduce the misuse of antibiotics in Australia: A report on two community juries

05 July 2017

Objective To elicit the views of well-informed community members on the acceptability of proposed policy interventions designed to improve community use of antibiotics in Australia. Design Two community juries held in 2016. Setting and participants Western Sydney and Dubbo communities in NSW, Australia. Twenty-nine participants of diverse social and cultural backgrounds, mixed genders and ages recruited via public advertising: one jury was drawn from a large metropolitan setting; the other from a regional/rural setting. Main outcome measure Jury verdict and rationale in response to a prioritization task and structured questions. Results Both juries concluded that potential policy interventions to curb antibiotic misuse in the community should be directed towards: (i) ensuring that the public and prescribers were better educated about the dangers of antibiotic resistance; (ii) making community-based human and animal health-care practitioners accountable for their prescribing decisions. Patient-centred approaches such as delayed prescribing were seen as less acceptable than prescriber-centred approaches; both juries completely rejected any proposal to decrease consumer demand by increasing antibiotic prices. Conclusion These informed citizens acknowledged the importance of raising public awareness of the risks, impacts and costs of antibiotic resistance and placed a high priority on increasing social and professional accountability through restrictive measures. Their overarching aim was that policy interventions should be directed towards creating collective actions and broad social support for changing antibiotic use through establishing and explaining the need for mechanisms to control and support better prescribing by practitioners, while not transferring the burdens, costs and risks of interventions to consumers.