Causes of antibiotic shortages and the solutions to address them

  26 February 2021

There is no doubt that the world needs new antibiotics, especially truly innovative ones with new modes of actions to attack drug-resistant bacteria and counter the silent surge of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The challenges and barriers in achieving these kinds of innovations and the consequences of failing to resolve this complex issue are well known in both academic and policy circles. However, there is also another challenge related to antibiotics which has received less attention, namely the growing lack of availability of old, common antibiotics such as penicillin, either because they are not registered in less commercially attractive countries or because of supply shortages. In particular, antibiotic shortages afflict countries of all levels of income and produce far-reaching negative consequences, ranging from patient suffering because of lack of treatments to increased healthcare costs and, eventually, also to a rise in the number of drug-resistant infections.

Further reading: GARDP / REVIVE
Author(s): Enrico Baraldi
Effective Surveillance  


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