Every time you feel slightly sick, you make your way to the doctor, take prescription drugs, some antibiotics and you feel better the next day. Repetitively, every time you are sick. Imagine this, every time you take antibiotics, your body is actually getting used to the drugs and building up resistance, same as the bacteria which are trying to invade your body.
Antibiotics might soon become extinct from the world
A recent WHO report published this week warned that the world might soon run out of effective antibiotics. The bacteria we are fighting against daily are slowly building up their capability to resist antibiotics, and what this means essentially is that people will be more susceptible to life-threatening diseases. Even Tuberculosis, which used to be a curable disease, has already started demonstrating resistance against multiple drugs, and kill about a quarter of a million people every year.
Need for pharmaceutical companies to come up with new antibiotics against serious infections
Dr. Suzanne Hill, the Director at WHO has called for pharma companies to focus on the development of new antibiotics to fight against serious infections. In the new report, there was supposedly only 20% of the new antibiotics being produced which could be considered as new and innovative. Other diseases which could potentially be hard to cure in the future will include diseases such as pneumonia.
In the US, the CDC reports that antibiotic resistance affects about 2 million people each year and kills about a quarter of a hundred thousand people every day. In fact, more astonishing is the fact that about 30% of the more than 200 million prescriptions for antibiotics are expected to be inappropriate. Can we still trust our doctors?
We cannot just trust the pharmaceutical industry to think about our health, we have to fight too as consumers
If you are counting on the big pharmas to think for you, remember that they are companies and many of the public companies will be profit driven. They might sell you stories how serving their consumers better will make them sustainable in the long run but given constrained resources, the production roadmap cannot be more simple to predict. In fact, a paper published in 2015 showed that interest in new development for antibiotics has decreased because patients take drugs for a much shorter time relative to patients with chronic diseases. This is pure economics, and the doctors you see everyday are part of the equation. This is not a conspiracy theory, many research papers have been published, and many stories have been told, but as a community of consumers, we are not listening hard enough.
Unexpectedly, the WHO has recently set up a new initiative to encourage research on new antibiotic innovation, which means, potentially more money and grants for these companies. It is a never ending loop, there is market failure, but companies will see profits.
What can we do then, in the face of all these facts?
As humans, the only thing that truly belongs to us is our body. We have to build up our body, and resist the temptation for quick fixes with medication. Headache? Take a Panadol. Fever? Take a pill. Coughing? Drink this solution. This is insane. Are people in the past living shorter lives because of insufficient nutrition or a lack of healthcare? That will be a paper I will be interested to read about.
Eat healthy, exercise, get adequate rest and repeat. That is the mantra to a healthy life.