Friday, May 22, 2015

Antibiotic Resistance: Big Pharma Fails to Address the Challenge

A recent report in SCIENCE is another example of ‘Big Pharma’ failing to address important public health issues.  The problem of resistance to conventional antibiotics is reaching crisis proportions, accelerated by the widespread use of antibiotics in mass agriculture. The technology to develop powerful new drugs is there, but the profit motivation is not.  In many respects this situation is similar to the problem of developing medications for diseases such as malaria that primarily affect poorer countries and thus provide little opportunity for large profits. It is encouraging to learn that some governments are seeking ways to break the roadblock on antibiotic development. However, is this enough?  One might argue that this key area of drug research be pursued through innovative public funding rather than be left to the dictates of Wall Street. 

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