:: Yahoo! News | Medicines make 10,000 China children deaf a year ::

Medicines make 10,000 China children deaf a years

April 13, 2007

BEIJING (Reuters) – Medicine abuse is making about 10,000 Chinese children deaf each year, state media said on Friday, putting the blame on doctors and parents alike.

“The improper use of antibiotics is the main culprit,” the People’s Daily quoted Chen Zhensheng, deputy director of the China Rehabilitation Research Centre for Deaf Children, as saying.

Parents had “blind faith” in antibiotics and doctors, who often take kickbacks from drugs middlemen, were more than willing to prescribe them, the newspaper said.

“Doctors should be clear about medicines that may harm hearing and it is highly undesirable for parents to think expensive antibiotics are the most effective,” Liu Jinfeng, director of the research centre, was quoted as saying.

Some 30,000 Chinese children lost their hearing every year because of heredity, infection, adverse drug reaction and other reasons, according to official figures.

Chinese readily resort to antibiotics for ailments such as colds and soar throats and experts say overuse and resulting resistance pose serious health implications for the 1.3 billion population.

Spending on antibiotics accounted for 30 percent of chemists’ drug revenues and a quarter of the prescriptions were “unreasonable,” the People’s Daily said.

In the last couple of years, the government has made it harder for people to buy antibiotics but many hospitals still rely on selling strong and expensive antibiotics for their profits.

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