Antibiotics are becoming less effective among Barbadians in the treatment of diseases, a leading pharmacist has revealed.
Past president of the Barbados Pharmaceutical Society Paul Gibson told a public lecture organized by the National Council on Substance Abuse on Tuesday there was increasing incidence here of resistance to these medicines.
“I’m talking something like 60 per cent in some cases for the average antibiotic being used,” Gibson said.
It was not entirely clear what was responsible for the growing levels of resistance to this type of medicine.
However, Gibson suggested in a subsequent interview with Barbados TODAY that travellers were contributors across the globe.
“We have that cross-pollination effect as well where somebody comes . . . with a different strain in their body and they, literally by breathing, may cause that to be released in Barbados,” he said.
In addition, he said, the fact that many pharmaceutical companies felt it was no longer financially viable to invest in the manufacturing of antibiotics did not help.
“Unfortunately many new antibiotics are not being manufactured in our world’s pharmaceutical industry and it is cause for concern,” the pharmacist stated.
“We have a problem. In a short while we may not know what to use, when to use them because nobody is manufacturing [them]. It doesn’t make any money for the pharmaceutical companies anymore.”
Gibson said research by the Pan American Health Organization at local health institutions identified certain strains of bacteria that should be focused on, as well as techniques to be adopted to ensure more effective use of antibiotics.
These techniques included blackouts, “where you stop using a specific antibiotic in a specific institution for a specific duration of time, where you have consultants only or specialists using specific types of antibiotics when they’re meeting specific pathogens and not using it for others.
“This is a way of preserving our integrity in terms of resistance and antibiotics,” Gibson told Barbados TODAY.
He also warned that antibiotics were being “heavily used” in the rearing of chickens, and this could have adverse effects on people’s health.