As we come to the end of 2009, it seems appropriate to give you a preview of what I expect to see a lot more of in 2010, and unfortunately, it's not a pretty picture. The negative impact the misuse and overuse of drugs is having on our global health can no longer be swept under the proverbial media carpet.The repercussions are very real, most of which are still waiting to be discovered.
A prime example is a recent article1 on the state of antibiotic-resistance in Europe. According to a statement made by a representative of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), "If this wave of antibiotic resistance gets over us, we will not be able to do organ transplants, hip replacements, cancer chemotherapy, intensive care and neonatal care for premature babies."
This sobering statement was made based upon the inability of the current regimen of antibiotics to fight off the "six most common multi-drug-resistant bacteria - often referred to as superbugs." According to the article, each year these superbugs are responsible for 400,000 infections, 2.5 million hospital days and 25,000 deaths in Europe alone.
What is baffling is that the culprits in this potential disaster are the same as they were decades ago: medical doctors who keep prescribing antibiotics for viruses (flu and colds) even though they know antibiotics will have no effect. There are a variety of reasons for why this continues to happen, but none is acceptable considering the consequences.
This situation is costing Europe more than $1.3 billion a year in hospital stays and another $900 million in lost productivity. Doctors mis-prescribed the antibiotics to save them the time and hassle of educating their patients. The drug companies made billions on selling the stuff and the European economy is stuck paying the tab.
In the U.S., this scenario is no different, except that it's actually worse (something we have not been quiet about2-8). We are pumping out drugs with limited research, holding our breath to see what the long-term adverse side effects will be once it gets into use by the masses. The strategy seems to be to sell now and factor in the expenses related to cost of a certain number of lawsuits, recalls, etc., as the cost of doing business.
Again, I believe this is something you will read and hear a lot more of in the next year. Fortunately, the chiropractic approach remains the only sane approach, particularly in these times of profit maximization: make choices for health and wellness that make drugs unnecessary in your everyday life. This should be included in your message to your patients each time you see them. It's one way you can help ensure they have a happy and healthy new year.
- Kelland K. "Antibiotic Overuse Threatens Modern Medicine: Experts." Reuters, Nov. 10, 2009.
- Meschino P. "The Emergence of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria." Dynamic Chiropractic, Feb. 26, 2007.
- Rosner A. "This Is Where We Come In." Dynamic Chiropractic, June 17, 2008.
- Pate D. "Achilles Tendon Tear Caused by a Common Antibiotic." Dynamic Chiropractic, Oct. 21, 2008.
- "Are Physicians Prescribing Too Many Antibiotics?" Chiropractic Research Review. www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dcc/crr
- "Parents' Role in Preventing Overuse of Antibiotics." Chiropractic Research Review.
- "Misuse of Antibiotics for Sore Throat." Chiropractic Research Review.
- "Antibiotics May Not Be Necessary for Pediatric Ear Infections." Chiropractic Research Review.
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