The World Health Organization warned on Monday that antibiotic consumption is dangerously high in some countries, while the lack of others causes dangerous misuse, leading to the emergence of deadly infectious agents.
At first, the United Nations Health Service said it had collected data on the use of antibiotics in large parts of the world and found enormous differences in consumption.
The report, based on 2015 data from 65 countries and regions, showed a significant difference in consumption rates from about four so-called fixed daily doses (DDD) per 1,000 inhabitants per day in Burundi to more than 64 in Mongolia.
"The big difference in the use of antibiotics worldwide shows that some countries are likely to use excessive antibiotics while other countries may not have sufficient access to these rescue medications," WHO warned in a statement.
Discovered in the 1920s, antibiotics have saved tens of millions of lives, destroying bacterial diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and meningitis.
But over the decades, bacteria have learned to resist building resistance to the same drugs they have just made.
WHO has repeatedly warned that the world is depleting antibiotics effectively and last year called on governments and big pharmacies to create a new generation of drugs to combat ultra-ultrasounds.
"Excessive use and abuse of antibiotics are the main causes of antimicrobial resistance," Suzanne Hill, head of WHO's key drug unit, said in a statement.
"Without effective antibiotics and other antimicrobials, we will lose our ability to cope with common infections such as pneumonia," he warned.
Bacteria can become resistant when patients use antibiotics that do not need or do not complete a course of treatment, giving the half-forgotten error the chance to regain and build immunity.
Hill insisted that the findings "confirm the need for urgent action, such as the prescription-only policies, to reduce the unnecessary use of antibiotics."
While abuse of antibiotics is worrying, WHO said low numbers are also worried.
"Resistance can happen when people can not afford full treatment or only have access to degraded or counterfeited drugs," he said.
The WHO report showed wide differences in antibiotic consumption even within the regions.
In Europe, which provided the fullest evidence for exposure, the average consumption of antibiotics was almost 18 DDD per 1,000 inhabitants per day.
However, in the region, Turkey, which held the highest position in over 38 DDD, showed almost five times the consumption of the lowest Azerbaijan consumer country, which numbered less than eight DDD.
WHO recognized the picture of how antibiotics are being used around the world is not yet complete.
The Monday review, for example, includes only four countries in Africa, three in the Middle East and six in the Asia-Pacific region. Characteristics missing from the diagram are the United States, China and India.
The WHO stressed that many countries face major challenges in collecting reliable data, including lack of resources and trained staff.
From 2016, the United Kingdom organization supports the collection of data in 57 low and middle income countries in order to create a standardized monitoring system for the use of antibiotics.
"Reliable data on antibiotic consumption are needed to help countries raise awareness of appropriate antimicrobial use," the WHO said.