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Nati Harnik / AP

Americans with commercial health insurance are using antibiotics less frequently than they did several years ago, according to a new study by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, per The Washington Post.

Why it matters: The analysis reveals that doctors and patients are becoming more cautious of excessive antibiotic use, which research has shown breeds drug resistance and "superbug" bacteria. A study last year revealed roughly one-third of the antibiotics prescribed in outpatient settings were unnecessary.

The findings, based on 173 million Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance claims from people age 65 and under who filled prescriptions between 2010 and 2016, as detailed in WaPo:

  • '9 percent fewer antibiotics prescribed in outpatient settings were filled in 2016, compared with 2010."
  • "The steepest decrease in filled prescriptions was for children — a drop of 16 percent, compared with 6 percent for adults."
  • "The prescriptions filled for infants fell the most — 22 percent."
  • "People in the South and Appalachia [tend] to fill prescriptions at rates significantly greater than those in New England and along the West Coast."
  • "The highest rates were in Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas. However, between 2010 and 2016, the rates fell in all states except Delaware, Illinois and Nebraska."

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Fauci fires back at Rand Paul for slam on tonight's "Axios on HBO"

Responding to charges by Sen. Rand Paul on Sunday's "Axios on HBO," NIAID director Anthony Fauci told "ABC This Week" that it's "molecularly impossible" for U.S.-funded bat virus research in China to have produced COVID-19.

Why it matters: The issue 0f Wuhan research was reignited on the right last week with a National Institutes of Health letter to Congress disclosing more about the research.

Manchin, Schumer huddle with Biden in Delaware to discuss spending bill

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (L) and Sen. Joe Manchin (R) at the U.S. Capitol on Nov. 13, 2014. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) will meet with President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Sunday morning in Delaware as Democrats look to reach an agreement on the massive spending measure.

Driving the news: Democrats are still negotiating what to keep in the bill and how to pay for it, with Biden saying on Thursday that the party does not have the votes to raise the corporate tax rate.

4 hours ago - Technology

Scoop: Facebook exec warns of "more bad headlines"

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

In a post to staffers Saturday obtained by Axios, Facebook VP of global affairs Nick Clegg warned the company that worse coverage could be on the way: “We need to steel ourselves for more bad headlines in the coming days, I’m afraid.”

Catch up quick: Roughly two dozen news outlets had agreed to hold stories based on leaked materials from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen for Monday publication — but the embargo fell apart Friday night as participating newsrooms posted a batch of articles ahead of the weekend.