Access to Antibiotics

The report by the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) in the US has made the following observations about the antibiotics and their access:

  • Majority of the world’s annual 5.7 million antibiotic-treatable deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
  • In low- and middle-income countries the mortality burden from treatable bacterial infections far exceeds the estimated annual 700,000 deaths from antibiotic-resistant infections.
  • Even after the discovery of a new antibiotic, regulatory hurdles and substandard health facilities delay or altogether prevent widespread market entry and drug availability.
  • Of 21 new antibiotics which entered the market between 1999 and 2014, only less than five were registered in most countries in sub-Saharan Africa. This indicates that the availability of a certain drug does not ensure its accessibilities in countries that require them the most.
  • Health facilities in many low- and middle-income countries are substandard and lack staff who are properly trained in administering antibiotics.
  • Lack of access to antibiotics is killing more people currently than does antibiotic resistance.

The irrational use of antibiotics and poor antimicrobial stewardship lead to treatment failures. This further propagates the spread of drug resistance which, in turn, further narrows the available array of effective antibiotics.
Research and development for new antimicrobials, vaccines, and diagnostic tests have slowed down since the 1960s as a profitable investment in this area is limited by low sales volumes, short duration of treatment, competition with established products and less expensive generics, and the possibility that resistance will rapidly emerge.

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