Editorials

Action on antimicrobial resistance

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.317.7161.764 (Published 19 September 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:764

Not easy, but Europe can do it

  1. Richard Smith, Editor
  1. BMJ

    “We screwed up, and we ought to say so and apologise. Doctors were handed the wonderful gift of antibiotics but are destroying them through indiscriminate use. We don't need another committee. We know what to do: we should just use them less.” So spoke Norman Simmons, emeritus consultant microbiologist from Guy's Hospital, London, to a tremendous round of applause at last week's panEuropean meeting in Copenhagen on antimicrobial resistance.

    Increasing resistance to antimicrobial agents is health care's version of global warming. The serious problems are global and lie in the future. Evidence is uncertain. There is no technical fix. An adequate response depends on ordinary doctors and patients changing their everyday practices. We may have to give up …

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