The consumption of pharmaceuticals is increasing across OECD countries, not only in terms of expenditure, but also the volume or quantity of drugs consumed.
Consumption of these drugs is measured through the defined daily dose (DDD) unit, as recommended by the WHO. Defined daily dose (DDD) is the assumed average maintenance dose per day for a drug used for its main indication in adults. DDDs are assigned to each active ingredient(s) in a given therapeutic class by international expert consensus.
The consumption of antibiotics varies from 11 DDDs per 1,000 people per day in the Netherlands to 39 in Greece. Since over-consumption of antibiotics has been linked to bacterial resistance, many countries have launched information campaigns targeting physicians and patients in order to reduce consumption.