Viewpoint: Antibiotic resistance should not make us feel helpless

The healthcare community can combat antibiotic resistance through "a sustained, coordinated, multifront campaign" despite legitimate fears about the looming crisis, wrote Michelle A. Williams, ScD, dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in an op-ed for The Washington Post.

Four of Dr. Williams' suggested strategies:

1. Curb antibiotic use as much as possible by preventing infections, prescribing only when necessary, ending the unnecessary use of antibiotics in farm animals and increasing funding for hospital infection-control programs.

2. Invest more money in research and development. An antibiotic can take 10 to 15 years to go on the market and cost over $1 billion, which slows development. Dr. Williams cites new financial incentives like CARB-X, a global partnership of philanthropic organizations and governments that offers 70 percent funding for projects it selects.

3. Break the typical link between sales and profits once antibiotics come to market. Profitability should be tied to social value, not sales, Dr. Williams wrote. Some experts have proposed forming a for-profit company with governments and charities as the core investors, with the rest owned by the public.

4. Change the way we think about antibiotics. Dr. Williams wrote we must see antibiotics as precious resources, like rivers and forests, or public goods, like highways and bridges.

More articles on clinical leadership and infection control:
Duke Health uses AI to reduce sepsis in hospitals
Over 1 in 5 Americans will soon have access to aid in dying medications: 5 things to know
Third physician says he was punished for complaining about patient safety at New York hospital

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