High global consumption of potentially inappropriate fixed dose combination antibiotics: Analysis of data from 75 countries

Barbara Bortone, Charlotte Jackson, Yingfen Hsia*, Julia Bielicki, Nicola Magrini, Mike Sharland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
151 Downloads (Pure)


Antibiotic fixed dose combinations (FDCs) can have clinical advantages such as improving effectiveness and adherence to therapy. However, high use of potentially inappropriate FDCs has been reported, with implications for antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and toxicity. We used a pharmaceutical database, IQVIA-Multinational Integrated Data Analysis System (IQVIA-MIDAS®), to estimate sales of antibiotic FDCs from 75 countries in 2015. Antibiotic consumption was estimated using standard units (SU), defined by IQVIA as a single tablet, capsule, ampoule, vial or 5ml oral suspension. For each FDC antibiotic, the approval status was assessed by either registration with the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) or inclusion on the World Health Organization (WHO) Essential Medicines List (EML). A total of 119 antibiotic FDCs were identified, contributing 16.7 x 109 SU, equalling 22% of total antibiotic consumption in 2015. The most sold antibiotic FDCs were amoxicillin-clavulanic acid followed by trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole and ampicillin/cloxacillin. The category with the highest consumption volume was aminopenicillin/ß-lactamase inhibitor +/- other agents. The majority of antibiotic FDCs (92%; 110/119) were not approved by the US FDA. Of these, the most sold were ampicillin/cloxacillin, cefixime/ofloxacin and metronidazole/spiramycin. More than 80% (98/119) of FDC antibiotics were not compatible with the 2017 WHO EML. The countries with the highest numbers of FDC antibiotics were India (80/ 119), China (25/119) and Vietnam (19/119). There is high consumption of FDC antibiotics globally, particularly in middle-income countries. The majority of FDC antibiotic were not approved by either US FDA or WHO EML. International initiatives such as clear guidance from the WHO EML on which FDCs are not appropriate may help to regulate the manufacturing and sales of these antibiotics.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0241899
Number of pages11
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Bortone et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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