X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

Coffee House Spectator Health

David Cameron gets serious about antibiotics — too little too late?

2 July 2014

1:45 PM

2 July 2014

1:45 PM

David Cameron has announced a review into why so few antimicrobials have been introduced over recent years. This seems to be too little too late. The impending car crash in healthcare of death from minor surgeries and incidental infections looms over us all. I have seen patients in critical care die of infections because we literally had no drugs left to treat them with. The continued evolution of bugs – MRSA and others– against our best drugs has been a huge problem for some time, one that rightly makes headlines problems. But it is hard for a society to take a such a grave threat seriously until it reaches epidemic proportions – and by then, it is not an exaggeration to say, we could all be at risk.

I have heard unsubstantiated rumours that there is not a single new antibiotic in development. The problem is simple, antibiotics are not profitable. We have discovered all the ‘easy’ ones and further drugs will take a lot of research. It is expensive for drug companies to bring a drug to market, and during much of the 20 year patent a new antibiotic will be reserved as a last line of defence and will not create a lot of revenue. Eventually as it begins to be used a lot, it stops working as selection pressure becomes applied to the already drug resistant bacteria it is designed to eliminate. In short, drug companies seek profit not public health and new antibiotics don’t promise great profits.

[Alt-Text]


Medicine has accommodated as much as it can in recent years with what’s called ‘antibiotic stewardship’ — that is, guidance on who gets which antibiotics and why from experts becoming commonplace, falling GP prescriptions and public health education on when antibiotics are not required. But it isn’t nearly enough. The government needs to take this problem more seriously — and tackle it with ever more urgency.

Steven Vates is currently a final year medical student at Warwick Medical School, and hopes to train in psychiatry after graduating in 2015. Prior to this he practised as a registered nurse in critical care.

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.


Show comments
Close