FDA To Allow Cefquinome For Cattle
The Washington Post, today, had an article that is the prototypical "acting locally to destroy globally".
We, humans, have had the health revolution of antibiotics. Starting with Penicillin, in the 1940s along with other drugs, we have enjoyed the wonder of a whole class of diseases becoming "just a disease" instead of life threatening.
But, like the bacteria did to the Martians in H.G. Wells "War of the Worlds", the bacteria are striking back at us..... and, even worse, we are letting personal, parochial interest aid and abet the little devils. It seems that, in spite of the protestations of some people, evolution really, really is happening in the domain of disease: the weak bacteria fade away and only the strong, medicine resistant ones survive to kill people.
The marketeers and business folk at the pharmaceutical companies want to expand their sales. This is normally just good business sense and actually mandatory. Only through vigorous response to competition do we enjoy the benefits of modern life.
In this case, the pharmaceutical companies want the FDA to allow them to sell one of their drugs for use on cattle in feedlots. The specific drug, cefquinome, is used to treat a pneumonia-like disease. While there are many other drugs that are more than effective, the pharmaceutical company wants to compete on that disease. It is also the case that the disease in question is pretty minor and seems to only occur because of the cramped conditions of the normal cattle feedlot.
So.... we don't need it but let us use it where it is sure to foster disease resistant bacteria.
Normally, the market forces of our country work wonderfully to encourage innovation and hard work.
But, in the area of life critical devices and medicines, the normal, robust, consumer driven natural selection in the market place can be disastrous. Acting to locally optimize revenues (which leads to promotions and salary increase for the individuals) can actually destroy people.
We commented on this before, in the case of individual, where "simple people" using antibiotics to significantly improve their short term health in less than stellar environments, are cultivating the deadly diseases of tomorrow.