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A. The FDA Calls for Warnings on Overusing Antibiotics

Narrator: This is Science Today. The Food and Drug Administration recently proposed placing warning labels on antibiotics to remind doctors that overuse is harming their effectiveness. Epidemiologist Lee Riley of the University of California, Berkeley says it's well known that overuse gives bacteria more chances to evolve and become drug-resistant. But Riley adds it's hard to get doctors not to prescribe antibiotics when they're not needed.

Riley: In most teaching hospitals, I think everybody's aware that overuse of antibiotics does contribute to the emergence of a drug-resistant organism. It's not a new concept. But for some reason, to actually put that concept into practice is very difficult.

Narrator: That's because Riley says often times doctors are under pressure from their patients to prescribe antibiotics.

Riley: And what happens in these patients is, if they don't get anything, they go to some other physician. I think the physicians just have to be honest enough and brave enough to educate the patients that they don't need antibiotics in every sniffle and sore throat and cough.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.