Americans who can't afford health care are taking fish antibiotics

People in the United States who can't afford medical insurance are resorting to fish and veterinary medication to treat themselves, reports The Guardian. Antibiotics like amoxicillin are available online in the same dosages that people take.

Researchers found nine antibiotics for sale at 24 different websites, including some of the most commonly prescribed to humans, such as penicillin and amoxicillin. Only 55 of the 2,228 comments reviewed described human use, but garnered nine times as much attention as others through "likes" and "dislikes".

Additionally, at least one online seller responded to an online question, saying fish antibiotics were suitable for human use.

There is also anecdotal evidence Americans are increasingly taking veterinary medicine. Dr Farzon Nahvi, an emergency room doctor in New York City and a member of Physicians for a National Health Program, said he had a patient overdose on fish antibiotics.

"One of my patients took fish antibiotics because she didn't have health insurance," said Nahvi. "She overdosed, ended up in the intensive care unit, and ended up far more ill and – having no insurance – with an even bigger bill. Plus, she missed a job interview, which could have been her ticket to health insurance, because of her hospital stay."