Race with death | Free Press

Lack of research on antibiotics

Although the World Health Organization (WHO) considers the spread of resistant bacteria as one of the biggest dangers, large pharmaceutical companies are currently stopping the search for new antibiotics. This is a very disturbing news. Because the race continues: germs always develop new mechanisms of resistance to make antibiotics harmless. Therefore, new antibiotics must be produced. Among the pathogens, Staphylococcus aureus, "hospital germ", or MRSA runs, can be dangerous to humans.

In Germany, some clues suggest that the use of antibiotics is now easier to reconsider: the number of prescriptions has been declining for years, according to figures from the Central Institute of Kassenärztliche. In 2018, one-fifth of the less-relevant recipes published compared to 2010. Well, because fewer prescriptions also mean less potential resistance.

But this will not be enough to permanently protect people's health. Alone through the consumption of meat, we absorb a lot of residues of antibiotics from the breeding.

There is a lot of research on new substances, but it is becoming more and more difficult to move from the petri dish to the drug. The development of a new antibiotic costs several hundred million euros. If the product is successfully approved, the costs of production, distribution and marketing will be added. This could only concern the big pharmaceutical companies today. Do not do it anymore, because with anticancer drugs and medicines for chronic diseases, you can make more money. Antibiotics are usually used for only a few days and are now prescribed more restrictively. In other words, there is no market for new antibiotics.

But you can only see the health sector with market glasses? An unsettled state even has the responsibility of providing the public interest here. This may seem odd, but antibiotic research is part of the "basic civilization" such as water, gas and electricity.

Antibiotic research shows the importance of the market power of large companies and the consequences of their action or inaction. Politicians must intervene – not just with the public money. It must create a framework of incentives and commitments, much like pediatric drug research. The European Parliament has been calling for this since 2015. It would be fatal for the pharmaceutical giants of antibiotic research to finally withdraw. Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides must take action. While the pathogens in the race for resistance and antidotes no longer have the advantage.