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Are doctors to blame for superbugs?

Who is to blame re the mess we are in regarding antibiotic-resistant superbugs? Doctors, livestock farming, airlines, drug companies, nursing homes, or a mixture of them all?

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How Australia and other developed countries have ended up in their current predicament of infections showing increasing resistance to antibiotics has been addressed in a session at the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases (ASID) Gram Negative Superbug meeting on the Gold Coast.

The role of doctors was explored by Dr Krispin Hajkowicz, Infectious Diseases Physician, and Senior Lecturer, University of Queensland, QLD. “The loss of effective antibiotics to antimicrobial resistance within two generations of their discovery is one of the great tragedies of human history. The people of the world want to hold someone accountable. Should it be doctors? Using the approach of a medical litigation claim, it can be shown that the current crisis was largely foreseeable, that doctors had a duty of care to the world to preserve the precious resource of effective antimicrobials and that they breached this duty of care,” says Dr Hajkowicz.

He points to evidence from studies showing that up to 50% of all antimicrobial prescribing by doctors is inappropriate, and that reducing inappropriate prescribing is largely unsuccessful by current interventions. “So my view is yes, doctors are to blame. Our penance is to develop and enforce national consensus guidelines for antimicrobial use, based on evidence, enshrined in legislation and involving both hospital and community...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.