“Like an endangered species”

As always, great reportage and writing from Megan McArdle

Antibiotics are an exhaustible resource. We should be treating them like an oil field, or an endangered species. Instead, we handle them like consumer electronics. The patent system is designed to promote human invention, not conserve what has already been discovered.

Full article here. I remember watching a talk of hers on the intarwebs somewhere and I also appreciated what she has to say.

What’s my medical-student perspective on the issue of resistant organisms and abx? Frankly, it’s not something that is ever formally discussed. Surely, we see both extremes – on the one hand, we observe some physicians over-prescribe “big gun” antibiotics for routine infections because they have “better coverage” and on the other, we learn the textbook microbiology answer for each bacterial question. Maybe a few forward thinking souls have familiarized themselves with the antibiotics on the $4 list. But, for the most part, the boards make sure that we at least know the “textbook” answer. Although I’d love to see some questions along the lines of “By how many days would abx shorten this patient’s disease course?” or “Which is more expensive?”

Onwards, I suppose …

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