Attitudes of primary care physicians to the prescribing of antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance: a qualitative study from Spain

Fam Pract. 2012 Jun;29(3):352-60. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmr084. Epub 2011 Oct 19.


Background and objective: Resistance to antibiotics is a public health threat. A number of studies confirm the relationship between antibiotic use and the resistance rate. As a whole, physicians represent a large proportion of the health professionals involved in the use of this therapeutic group. Our study therefore sought to ascertain the opinions and attitudes of GPs in Spain with respect to antibiotics and resistance.

Methods: We used the focus group (FG) method, with each group comprising 4-12 primary care physicians and a moderator. Based on a previous systematic review, we drew up an agenda to be followed during the holding of the sessions. Group proceedings were recorded and the transcriptions then analysed separately by two researchers.

Results: Five FGs were formed, including a total of 33 physicians. The factors/attitudes that influenced the prescribing of antibiotics by GPs were fear, complacency, insufficient knowledge and external responsibility of the pharmaceutical industry, patients and over-the-counter antibiotics. The groups felt that antibiotic resistance was not a problem at a community level.

Conclusions: Identification of attitudes/knowledge related with inappropriate antibiotic prescribing will enable specific interventions to be designed, with the aim of targeting these shortcomings to improve antibiotic use and help reduce resistance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Drug Industry
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Physicians, Primary Care / psychology*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Spain


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents