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Wednesday, March 15th 2006

Market Forces And Antibiotics

My microbiology class is kind’ve scary. The lecturers speak of the end of the era of antibiotics and we learn about MRSA (also here) and how by the time I’m out practicing every staph aureus infection will be VRSA.

From an AMA News article (subscription required) comes a piece on the need for new antibiotics, and a compelling argument against my views on the marketplace and medicine.

“In the past, it appeared we were keeping up with the emergence of resistance because the pharmaceutical industry was keeping up,” said IDSA President Martin J. Blaser, MD, professor of internal medicine at New York University Medical Center. “But now, the discovery pipeline is drying up, and few new antibiotics are being developed,” he said at the briefing.

Market forces are not likely to help, said George H. Talbot, MD, lead author of an article on the issue in the March 1 Clinical Infectious Diseases, also at the briefing. “It’s much more profitable for a pharmaceutical company to make a cholesterol drug that you take for a lifetime than an antibiotic you take for a week.”

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