Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Distributing drugs may speed resistance warns report

A new report warns that drug distribution policies could speed the occurrence of drug resistant strains of disease. The report from the Center of Global Development warns that distributing drugs to the under-developed world may harm the lives they are meant to save.

From Reuters, writer Maggie Fox details the report.

"Drug resistance is a natural occurrence, but careless practices in drug supply and use are hastening it unnecessarily," the Center's Rachel Nugent, who led the group writing the report, said in a statement.

Millions of children in the developing world die every year from drug-resistant strains of malaria, tuberculosis, AIDS and other diseases, the report found.

Since 2006 donors have spent more than $1.5 billion on specialized drugs to treat resistant bacteria and viruses, and this could worsen, the report cautions.

So-called "superbugs" such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureas, or MRSA, now cause more than 50 percent of staph infections in U.S. hospitals.

Bacteria and viruses begin to evolve resistance to drugs almost as soon as they first encounter them. If drug treatment leaves even one microbe alive, it will reproduce and whatever genetic attributes helped it survive will be multiplied in the next generation.

Last week, experts told a Congressional panel that U.S. regulators need to provide a clear path for drug companies to develop new antibiotics and should consider offering financial incentives.

The Center's report looks for even broader action, urging WHO to lead others, including pharmaceutical companies, governments, philanthropies that buy and distribute medicines, hospitals, healthcare providers, pharmacies and patients.

No comments: