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Blue Cross Blue Shield Report Shows Drop in Antibiotic Prescription Fill Rates

A report published by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, in partnership with HealthCore and Blue Health Intelligence, indicates a reduction in the fill rate of outpatient antibiotic prescriptions in the US.  This report examined the number of antibiotic prescriptions filled between 2010 and 2016 by commercially insured members after an outpatient clinic visit.  Key findings of the report include:

A 9% reduction in outpatient antibiotic fill rate from 2010 to 2016
A 13% drop in broad-spectrum antibiotic fill rate
The largest reduction was seen in infants (22%) compared to adults (6%)
Wide geographic variation exists in antibiotic fill rates within the US
Fill rates were 16% higher in rural compared to urban areas

How did Nebraska do?  According to this report, outpatient antibiotic fill rates were unchanged during this period.  The rate was 96.9 per 100 members in 2010 and remained at 97.0 per 100 members in 2016.  Broad-spectrum antibiotic fill rates only reduced by 1%.  And those in the pediatric population only reduced by 6% compared to a 16% reduction nationally.  Nebraska ranked as the 9th highest in the rates of outpatient antibiotic filled in the US.

The report concluded that increase in awareness of antibiotic overuse and threats of antibiotic resistant pathogens has resulted in measurable effects on antibiotic prescribing in the ambulatory setting.  However, additional efforts are needed to address the wide regional variation in antibiotic prescribing in the US and the continued high use of antibiotics for conditions in which they are ineffective.

For the state of Nebraska, much work is still needed to catch up to the rest of the country!

To read the full report, visit

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