America’s Drug Culture: Addicted to Antibiotics

Washington Post: “Four out of five Americans are prescribed the drugs every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Up to half of the estimated 258 million prescriptions are unnecessary, the agency reports.”

“’We need a total culture change,’ said Jesse Goodman, director of Georgetown University’s Center on Medical Product Access, Safety and Stewardship and a former FDA chief scientist. ‘Patient and doctor must understand these drugs are precious resources. The more we use them, and the more unwisely, the more resistance.’”

“President Obama announced a plan this week to nearly double the amount of federal funding dedicated to fighting antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a national health threat the CDC says annually causes an estimated 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths.”

“Pharmaceutical companies today are less outwardly aggressive about peddling antibiotics. ‘But in some cases … can promote an antibiotic as powerful and reliable and, anecdotally, lead people to perhaps reach for it when an older or less broadly active one would have worked.’”

“The result: Slowly and surely, we’re weakening our miracle drugs. The first step to recovery is to stop thinking they’re dispensable.”

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