Thursday, January 24, 2019

The Antibiotic Crisis

Why is the government pleading with the pharmaceutical industry to increase research into new antibiotics? 

Health secretary Matt Hancock is to tell the World Economic Forum in Davos that “Each and every one of us benefits from antibiotics, but we all too easily take them for granted, and I shudder at the thought of a world in which their power is diminished. Antimicrobial resistance is as big a danger to humanity as climate change or warfare. That’s why we need an urgent global response.”

Antibiotic resistance poses a substantial threat to modern medicine and is predicted to kill 10 million people every year by 2050. Resistant infections presently contribute to the deaths of about 2,000 people each year in the UK, with at least 20% of antibiotics in primary care inappropriately prescribed.

 Theresa May said: “The increase in antibiotic resistance is a threat we cannot afford to ignore. It is vital that we tackle the spread of drug-resistant infections before routine operations and minor illnesses become life-threatening."

The health department explained the reason why few new antibiotics have been produced.
“The way drugs companies are currently paid depends on the volumes they sell, meaning companies have an incentive to sell as many antibiotics as possible, at the same time as government is trying to reduce antibiotic use.

“Low returns on investment in development means industry does not innovate enough and as a result, very few of the new drugs that are currently in the pipeline are targeted towards priority infections.”
That in layman's terms means pharmaceutical businesses don't make sufficient profits  out of antibiotics so they don't bother about making better improved versions.

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