Antibiotic resistance

We’ve been hearing it everywhere for the last few years, and its considered an uncontrollable event; Antibiotic Resistance. As Dame Sally Davies (Chief Medical Office for England) stated at one of her conference talks at the Royal Institution of Great Britain on October 7th 2016, “We risk turning back the clock to the pre-antibiotic era”.

The misuse of antibiotics is one of the main causes for the creation of superbugs.

  • People taking antibiotics in an attempt to treat viral infections
  • According to a survey, 93% of GPs have faced pressure from their patients to prescribe them antibiotics that were unnecessary to them, and an impressive 44% admitted to prescribing them, ‘just to get the patient out’. [GP online]
  • E-Pharmacies selling antibiotics through prescriptions provided by their own ‘doctors’


Waste from big pharma manufacturers

  • A large portion of antibiotics found on the market are produced in India and China, where manufacturing is cheaper and discharge of waste is poorly regulated [The Guardian]
  • Waste is discharged in water systems, contaminating rivers and livestock;
  • Promoting the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria

Pharma companies are reluctant to invest in the development of new antibiotics because the return on investment would be smaller than for new cancer treatment drugs. They report that drugs to fight cancer, rare diseases and Hepatitis C are used much longer than antibiotics. They added that it costs as much to bring new cancer drugs to the market as developing new antibiotics. Moreover, drugmakers say ‘they have a fiduciary duty to shareholders to maximize profits’. [Fortune]

  • [GP online] Robinson, Stephen. “Nine in 10 GPs Report Pressure from ‘pushy’ Patients to Prescribe Antibiotics.” GP Magazine News, Medical Education, CPD and GP Jobs. GP Online, 19 Aug. 2014. Web. 28 Oct. 2016.


  • [The Guardian] 5Litovsky, Alejandro. “Antibiotic Waste Is Polluting India and China’s Rivers; Big Pharma Must Act.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 25 Oct. 2016. Web. 29 Oct. 2016.



  • [Fortune] Reuters. “New Incentives Needed to Develop Antibiotics to Fight Superbugs.” Fortune s. N.p., 29 May 2016. Web. 29 Oct. 2016.


  • [The Guardian II] Holpuch, Amanda. “UN Meeting Tackles the ‘fundamental Threat’ of Antibiotic-resistant Superbugs.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 21 Sept. 2016. Web. 29 Oct. 2016

Written by Alex Fridgant

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