Dr. Bray Links

Friday, March 27, 2015

Resistance: The Movie That Will Make You Care About Antibiotic Misuse

This documentary is available on Netflix, VUDU, and iTunes. It's a great look at antibiotic overuse in the United States. Much of the problem involves big agriculture. The summary advice is to stop asking for antibiotics at your doctor's office unless you are very sick and are certain there is a bacterial cause. And stop buying animal-based food that uses antibiotics for growth promotion.


"A FEW YEARS ago I happened to get introduced to a pair of filmmakers, Michael Graziano and Ernie Park, who were starting to explore the topic of antibiotic resistance. They had the same questions about resistance that I obsess over, and the same shock about how enormous the problem is: according to a recent estimate, 700,000 deaths every year, likely to rise into the millions if nothing is done.

They recognized their disbelief as the creative spark for a project, and three years later, have brought out Resistance, a documentary now available on iTunes."


The White House on Friday announced a five-year plan to fight the threat posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria amid fears that once-treatable germs could become deadly.

Repeated exposure to antibiotics can lead germs to become resistant to the drugs, so that they are no longer effective. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that drug-resistant bacteria cause 23,000 deaths and 2 million illnesses each year in the United States.

The World Health Organization said last year that bacteria resistant to antibiotics have spread to every part of the world and might lead to a future where minor infections could kill. Antibiotic resistance also threatens animal health, agriculture, and the economy.

In an interview with WebMD, President Barack Obama said over-prescribing antibiotics is a serious problem.

"Studies have consistently shown that a lot of America's antibiotic use is unnecessary," he said. He said he hopes his plan will create a system to show real-time rates of antibiotic use and where cases of drug resistance are being reported. "If we can see where these drugs are being over-prescribed, we can target our interventions where they're needed most."

The White House's overall goal is to prevent and contain outbreaks of infections at home and abroad. It's aiming to maintain the ability of current antibiotics to fight illnesses and develop new treatments.
The plan is the result of an order Obama signed in September forming a task force on the issue. Obama also has asked Congress to nearly double its funding to fight antibiotic resistance to $1.2 billion.

Critics say they wish the White House would go further, particularly in terms of the antibiotics used in animals processed for meat. The Food and Drug Administration has already successfully encouraged many drug companies to phase out the use of antibiotics used for animal growth promotion, but advocacy groups have called on the agency to limit other uses of animal antibiotics as well, such as for disease prevention when holding animals in crowded conditions.


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