Antibiotic emergency

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Drug company greed causing antibiotic resistance plague, pharmacy editor claims.

The pharmaceutical industry is playing a substantial role in driving the growth of antimicrobial resistance by a lack of funding for new research on antibiotics, leading pharmacy academic and editor Dr Chris Alderman claims.

Dr Alderman, editor of the Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research, says
antibiotics provide a relatively poor return on investment compared to other drugs.”

Instead the industry diverts funding into trying to find profitable new blockbuster drugs for chronic diseases such as diabetes, depression and heart failure.

“The proportion of research and development funds aimed at the development of new antibiotics is relatively meagre.”

However, the medical profession and wider public are also in his sights, with people needing to be aware of when they do, and don’t need an antibiotic, and reducing the resultant pressure they can place on prescribers.

“The science is hard to deny – indiscriminate prescribing and overuse of antibiotics, poorly selected and implemented therapy, unregulated supply of these drugs in many parts of the world, and the overuse/abuse of the antimicrobials in the veterinary and agricultural contexts have caused the problem.

Dr Alderman says pharmacists have a vital role to play in advising patients that using antibiotics when they don’t need to can contribute to antibiotic resistance. He also says that when dispensing antibiotics a pharmacist should advise when it is to finish or the date to be reviewed.

“Overall it seems that the desire to make money overrides what makes good clinical and moral sense. And so it seems de-evolution back to a new pre-antibiotic era will continue for now, unless the human race can be convinced that some things are more important than money.”

Hi editorial is one of a series of articles examining antibiotic resistance in the journal, which is published by the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia.

In another article, Luc Besancon, from the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) says involving pharmacists in the frontline of the fight against antibiotic misuse is crucial.

“As experts in medicines and their responsible use, pharmacists have many of the solutions to AMR. But we must act now,” he said.

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  1. Russell Smith

    well then – a lot of this starts with the doctors who dont necessarily prescribe wisely rather than pharmacists – and what pharmaceutical company is going to invest billions in bringing products to market – to be faced by counterfeiting in unregulated countries – or faced with an economically insulting price such as in Australia?

    • William

      I totally agree with Russell Smith’s comments. It is they who have continued to prescribe antibiotics when not required and not told the patients the normal course of things like colds and flu are not influenced by antibioitics. Save the use of antibiotics for those cases where they are required.

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