Sunday, March 25, 2007

Drug resistant infections

The statistics on the number of Americans dying from infections - and in particular infections acquired in hospitals - are staggering. About 2 million Americans acquired an infection last year while in the hospital!

I tell my friends that you can't leave someone alone in a hospital - that they are the most dangerous places in the country. Generally, my comments are met with skepticism - until they or a relative are in the hospital. Invariably, they report back to me that I was right; there aren't enought nurses, wrong medications or meals show up, something is unsanitary, and so on.

We need some kind of a program to encourage the pharmaceutical industry to tackle infections. They just aren't interested any more - the risks and rewards greatly favor chronic illnesses where drugs can be used for years or decades - e.g. Lipitor - than for acute, short-lived drug regimens. The FDA - who I haven't trusted in years - needs to be assertive here - and so does all branches of government.

While I am an open deficit hawk - raise my tax rate a half point and let all that tax revenue go to support a search for new antibiotics.

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