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Antibiotics and bureaucracy


Bruce
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Many thousands of people are dying of infections from bacteria resistant to the known antibiotics these days. One of the impediments to developing new antibiotics is the "safety" bureaucracy which , through regulations, has pushed the cost of approvals to levels which make the whole exercise unprofitable.

 

( The other impediment is how the bugs evolve to negate the antibiotics, so a continued effort is needed)

 

I wonder if there is an opportunity here for a smart country to provide a base for companies to develop antibiotics in a profitable manner. I am thinking about a similarity with Jonkers sailplanes, who make world-class sailplanes in South Aftrica. One of the advantages of South Africa was the lesser burden of a negative bureaucracy.

 

Of course, the countries which missed out, like the EU, have put regulatory impediments in the way of Jonkers sailplanes, and in Australia I think they are still only registered as experimental.

 

Similarly, antibiotics developed in South Africa would for awhile be resisted in the big consumer countries including the EU, the US and Australia.

 

But something has to be done. The main historical product of bureaucracy has been poverty, soon we will have to add sickness to the score.

 

 

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Thats the problem litespeed. A rational approach would be to balance the risks and adopt a "least worst" policy.Right now, we are losing the benefits of antibiotics because we are insisting on safe or nothing.

 

There are also other reasons it is not attractive for pharmaceutical companies to develop new antibiotics. The reason we need new antibiotics is that of the growing problem of antibiotic resistance due to overuse. We need new antibiotics to use in the few cases where our present drugs fail. Essentially we are asking a pharma company to expend vast sums of money in order to produce an antibiotic which will only be prescribed where the present antibiotics have failed and in fact, we do not want new antibiotics to be widely prescribed except as a drug of last resort. So it is a case of large research and development costs and liability for a drug that will only be prescribed as a last resort. When compared with perhaps an antihypertensive or statin which is widely prescribed.

 

 

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Thalidomide and agent Orange. What dreadful effects those things had. Plenty of substances damage our genes. Industrial strength chemicals are potent poisons often. Plastic has found it's way everywhere... Antibiotics go down the toilet and are used to put rapid weight gain on farm animals for quicker profits. Fertilsers and insecticides flow out in the Rivers. What hope has the world got when such self serving irresponsibility is widespread? Nev

 

 

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Thalidomide and agent Orange. What dreadful effects those things had. Plenty of substances damage our genes. Industrial strength chemicals are potent poisons often. Plastic has found it's way everywhere... Antibiotics go down the toilet and are used to put rapid weight gain on farm animals for quicker profits. Fertilsers and insecticides flow out in the Rivers. What hope has the world got when such self serving irresponsibility is widespread? Nev

All true Nev. Human nature is at fault as much as the drug. Thalidomide is said to be a very useful pharmaceutical, with several applications besides the one which gained it such notoriety. If it had been properly tested and used carefully it might be in widespread use today.

 

Like all drugs (and much else in life) misuse by a few has led to it being made unavailable for the rest of us.

 

 

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Antibiotics (Broad spectrum) kill off all little critters, good and bad. We NEED the GOOD ones. You often kill off a particular weed only to have it replaced by a worse one. You must work with nature, not against it. It's taken millions of years to develop the order it has. That's why everything living is so much more complex than we expect it to be. Nev

 

 

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Perhaps the day of the chemical anti-biotic is passed and we should, in the West, be advancing the use of bacteriophages. A bacteriophage is a virus that infects and replicates within bacteria. Bacteriophages are among the most common and diverse entities in the biosphere. Bacteriophages are ubiquitous viruses, found wherever bacteria exist. They have been part of the environment since the first simple, single-celled organisms developed in the primordial soup of the first oceans. Bacteriophages are found wherever bacteria thrive: in sewers, in rivers that catch waste runoff from pipes, and in the stools of convalescent patients.This includes rivers traditionally thought to have healing powers, including India's Ganges River.

 

Phage therapy or viral phage therapy is the therapeutic use of bacteriophages to treat pathogenic bacterial infections. Phages were discovered to be antibacterial agents and were used in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia (pioneered there by Giorgi Eliava with help from the co-discoverer of bacteriophages, Félix d'Herelle) during the 1920s and 1930s for treating bacterial infections. They had widespread use, including treatment of soldiers in the Red Army. However, they were abandoned for general use in the West for several reasons:

 

  • Antibiotics were discovered and marketed widely. They were easier to make, store and to prescribe.
     
  • Medical trials of phages were carried out, but a basic lack of understanding raised questions about the validity of these trials.
     
  • Publication of research in the Soviet Union was mainly in the Russian or Georgian languages and were not followed internationally for many years.
     

 

Blind Freddy can see from the first point that Western pharmaceutical companies ignored the gift of free bacterial control that phages offered because they could not make money from it. However, as man-made antibiotocs are losing the battles, Bacteriophage researchers are developing engineered viruses to overcome antibiotic resistance, and engineering the phage genes responsible for coding enzymes which degrade the biofilm matrix, phage structural proteins and also the enzymes responsible for breakdown of the bacterial cell wall.

 

 

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My complaint is that some of the vast costs and litigation potential are not needed. The new stuff could be "at your own risk" and then the decision can be left to the patient. Making this change would mainly require legislation changes which would be cheap. Plus a change in the mindset of a lot of the public who presently want the government to fix everything with prohibitions.

 

The fact is that lots of people are going to die because the politicians and the voters behind them are too timid or too stupid to save themselves.

 

 

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My complaint is that some of the vast costs and litigation potential are not needed. The new stuff could be "at your own risk" and then the decision can be left to the patient. Making this change would mainly require legislation changes which would be cheap. Plus a change in the mindset of a lot of the public who presently want the government to fix everything with prohibitions.The fact is that lots of people are going to die because the politicians and the voters behind them are too timid or too stupid to save themselves.

I think antibiotics are unlike other drugs. We know that in order for antibiotics to continue to be effective we need to use them as little as possible. Whilst liability may be a factor, a bigger disincentive may be the fact that the new antibiotics they develop will hardly ever be sold because it has been developed to cure the few cases where all the other antibiotics fail. We need them to develop antibiotics that will have extremely low sales, in fact only being sold for a small number of patients who do not respond to the antibiotics we have at the moment.

 

Here is an interesting article Why Pharmaceutical Companies Aren't In A Rush To Address Increasing Antibiotic Resistance

 

 

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?.. We need them to develop antibiotics that will have extremely low sales, in fact only being sold for a small number of patients who do not respond to the antibiotics we have at the moment...

The profit motive has brought us great advances, but corporate greed may stop new antibiotics being introduced. A damned good reason for not selling government-owned research organisations to the private sector...or is it too late?

 

 

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We spend billions on weapons which will never be needed and yet we ignore obvious problems which need just a fraction of the weapons money to solve. Maybe we are just to stupid to survive.

 

PS... I'm still waiting for an entry to my competition for the most likely sortie for the 100 billion submarines. For example " we go to war with China ( substitute Indonesia, India, the US ) and we sink all of their invasion fleet with our new submarines"... this would be a valid but non-winning entry on account of lacking enough detail to evaluate properly.

 

 

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Can the "striving for profit (above all else) motivated system" do what must be done for the planet's future? Organised Capital now has more power than elected governments. When they can and do call the shots for their (immediate) benefit is it good for the rest of us?.

 

Recall "What's GOOD for General Motors is GOOD for AMERICA"? Well Trump is now telling GM how to do it's business (Build it in the US or ELSE). I wouldn't buy GM shares at the moment, and people aren't buying their Cars. Maybe the American dream is based on some kind of modified slavery, property expropriation and exploitation of the workforce, coloureds and poor and won't survive. (Like the French Aristocracy). Nev

 

 

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For the last 40 years, I have always bought cars made in Australia and found them reliable, including GM stuff.

 

But I read how Jeeps are unreliable, and so maybe US cars are not as good as asian ones. There was a video about an unhappy Jeep owner who burned his new Jeep in Qld.

 

I personally know more than one unhappy Mercedes buyer, so maybe European cars are not so good either.

 

 

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Doesn't matter where your car is made, occasionally someone will get a dog. The thing is, people only make it public when something stuffs up, all the other people who've had 300,000 happy kilometers out of theirs don't make a peep.

 

Regarding pharmaceuticals - I'm afraid that's what happens when you let the market decide drug priorities. No pharmaceutical company wants to develop a cure for anything, they want ongoing profits which means making drugs that people have to take for a long time at very high prices.

 

This is why you need strong government-funded research bodies like CSIRO which can work towards a public good, not a bottom line. At the risk of being labelled "socialist" I'd also contend that patents be disallowed, or severely limited, for medications. This of course will raise cries of "but if companies can't get huge profits then investors won't fund research", to which I say "refer to the first sentence in the paragraph".

 

 

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I doubt the big Pharma companies care about anything except profit.

 

The only medication I take is designed for my chronic, lifelong lung condition. Even though the drug company knows that each "client" will be inhaling these capsules every day for the rest of their life, they are packaged in one-month kits. My requests to be supplied with the capsules only have been ignored, so I now have a collection of dozens of expensive inhalers, instruction booklets and associated packaging. What a bluddy waste!

 

 

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That's not being socialist Marty, there are lots of things like defense and hospitals and pensions and NASA which need government funding. Maybe the voters will figure out that antibiotic research is really more important than they think right now. There is actually some good stuff happening in universities at the moment, but badly underfunded overall. A good place to direct your charity dollars I reckon.

 

Mind you, as a lapsed socialist, I do mourn the olden days when such socialists as Menzies cared about things like housing for low-wage earners.

 

 

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You can better target the disease than using a broad spectrum antibiotic. One time we used to culture the microbe and use a specific thing to control it with less side effects .. Misuse/ over-use has made many antibiotics ineffective. The bugs you don't kill come back with more vigour than the originals. Same with sprays in the garden, (or farm). Nev

 

 

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One of the things I was tought when I went to Ag. college in 1951 was that the new antibiotics should not be used indiscriminately. If they were overused they would eventually be overcome by the bacteria they were supposed to control.

 

Since then we have antibiotics in the feed of lot fed cattle and also pigs and puoltry which we eat. Suddenly the medical profession has discovered bugs which are resistant. Wwe still have patients turning up at the doctors surgery and demanding something prescribed for their viral infection. As usual it is a case of common sense does not apply to me. Give me what I demand.

 

 

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