Less is more ?

A project exploring the Use of Antibiotics & Benzodiazepines

Our partners


- People-Driven pharmaceutical research -

project description

Pharmaceuticals & Public Health

Today, the right to health is often enacted as a right to access pharmaceuticals. This pharmaceuticalization of public health creates both opportunities for relief and new risks for patient safety and sustainability such as overmedicalization, waning effectiveness, and iatrogenic harm.


In health policy-making, a “less is more” approach of de-prescribing has become part of quaternary prevention with optimization of services at its core. The project builds a more robust evidence-base for this approach, asking:

  • What does de-prescribing mean?
  • Where are de-prescribing methods used, how, and to what effect?

New Ideas, New Guidelines

Existing policies focus on guidelines for providers and indirect user regulation. Yet, little is known about provider and user experience or circulation pathways–pharmaceuticals’ “cultural efficacy”–that could inform a more context-sensitive, evidence-based policy approach.

The project collects data on pharmaceutical prescription, circulation, use, and develops workable models, regulations, and guidelines for evaluating and using pharmaceuticals with a stakeholder-driven co-creation approach.

- antibiotics and benzodiazepines -

Our project uses antibiotics and benzodiazepines as similar-but-contrasting cases and an integrated anthropology-public health approach to investigate their prescription, circulation, and use.

implementation model

We will develop an ethnographically grounded, expert-validated policy blueprint with an implementation model for de-prescribing – where it is necessary and advisable, and where it is not – at the macro (policy), meso (institutions), and micro (provider/patient) level to explore as-yet invisible social arenas, close the data gap, and mitigate unwanted side-effects.

- global questions | local research -

With its population density and diversity, health service availability, and robust drug policy program, Vienna is the ideal location for an ambitious study to generate an innovative de-prescribing model for sustainable public health outcomes that can be adapted to other local contexts.

our team

Portrait photo of J. Kehr in colour_©J. Kehr

Janina kehr

Janina Kehr is a Professor of Medical Anthropology and Global Health at the Department for Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna.


igor grabovac

Igor Grabovac is a medical doctor and public health specialist working at the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine of the Centre of Public Health at the Medical University of Vienna.


lisa lehner

Lisa Lehner is the postdoctoral researcher and Co-PI for “Less is More.” An interdisciplinary scholar, she combines medical anthropology, science studies, and critical public health approaches.

Honja Hama_©Honja Hama Portrait Photo

Honja Hama

Honja Hama joined the “Less is More” Team as a doctoral researcher in June 2023. Honja holds an MSc in Socioeconomics from the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU) where she focused on housing and health economics.

miriam schwaiger_©Miriam Schwaiger

Miriam Schwaiger

Miriam is the research administrator of "Less Is More." She supports the team in all organisational and administrative matters, ideas and plans.

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