More than two million Australians report an antibiotic or penicillin allergy. It has been found that 85% of these reported allergies are false and that the allergy can be removed by testing. Having a ‘false’ antibiotic allergy can lead to a patient receiving antibiotic therapies that are inappropriate for their condition, which can be costly, as well as lead to poorer health outcomes. 

At present many of the patients carrying a false antibiotic allergy label remain undiscovered with 50% of these patients not having access to vital testing.

This project seeks to improve access to vital antibiotic allergy testing for Victorian patients. This will reduce the burden and cost of antibiotic allergies in healthcare. 

This project aims to discover patients with an antibiotic allergy label during their hospital stay, appropriately assess their allergy, and offer them safe and simple testing to prove or disprove their antibiotic allergy (de-label), which will allow them access to appropriate antibiotic therapies. This program will provide timely testing reducing outpatient referrals and lengthy waiting lists. The program will result in improved health outcomes through better antibiotic use, reduced time on intravenous (IV) antibiotics, reduced time in hospital and less chance of generating superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics.

Lead organisation

Austin Health


Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre