Drug Firms 'To Blame' For Antibiotic Resistance

Sarah Knapton | Leader-Post | January 19, 2015

Drug companies' poor practices are to blame for the rise of antibiotic resistance which threatens to make even the smallest infections deadly, one industry chief executive has claimed.  Doctors have usually been blamed for bacterial resistance because of overprescription, but Karl Rotthier, the chief executive of Dutch-based DSM Sinochem Pharmaceuticals, claims lax procedures at drug firms are the real cause.  He said the very industry that produced lifesaving antibiotics was fuelling a global crisis.

He said that poor waste water checks had caused some rivers in Patancheru, India to have higher concentrations of active antibiotics than the blood of patients undergoing treatment.    Mr Rotthier said the world risks "sleepwalking" towards the end of modern medicine and a "post-antibiotic era".  "For a couple of years now we have seen antimicrobial resistance rising and rising and you get scared because if we don't do anything we risk deaths of up to 10 million by 2050," he said.

The World Health Organization echoes his concerns and has classified antimicrobial resistance as a "serious threat" to every region of the world and says it "has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country".  Mr Rothier said: "Most antibiotics are now produced in China and India and I don't think it is unjust to say that the environmental conditions have been quite different in these regions.  "Poor controls mean that antibiotics are leaking out and getting into drinking water. They are in the fish and cattle that we eat and global travel and exports means bacteria is travelling. That is having a greater contribution to the growth of antibiotic resistance than overprescribing."...