‘To Prescribe or Not to Prescribe’ is Not the Only Question: Physician Attitudes Towards Antibiotics and Prescription Practices in Spain

  • Sandi Michele de OliveiraEmail author
  • Nieves Hernández-Flores
  • Vanesa Rodríguez-Tembrás


This chapter is an ethnographic interview study exploring prescription practices and doctors’ attitudes towards treatment decisions in rural Spain. Spain continues to be one of the largest consumers of antibiotics for humans in Europe despite having adopted European Union (EU) regulatory standards. The study finds that doctors (i.e. GPs and geriatric physicians) clearly recognize the problem of overuse and the risks that it involves, so what accounts for this excessive use? Within the geriatric field specifically, doctors consider the severity of illnesses and potential risk of loss of life or prolonged hospitalization. GPs noted time constraints (seven minutes per consultation); in ambiguous cases, patients are asked to return within days. Doctors recount ways in which patients pressure for prescriptions, as well as other options for obtaining antibiotics without a prescription or self-medication.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandi Michele de Oliveira
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nieves Hernández-Flores
    • 1
  • Vanesa Rodríguez-Tembrás
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of English, Germanic and Romance StudiesUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Romance LanguagesInstitute for Translation and Interpretation, University of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany

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