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A vaccine for superbugs because it isn't profitable enough to make antibiotics.

(117 Posts)
bubbleymummy Wed 13-Apr-11 11:55:56

Story here

Not exactly ethical really is it? Not that the pharmaceutical companies are that well known for their ethics...

Piggyleroux Sun 17-Apr-11 15:22:40

Thanks for posting this. It's thing like this that make me shudder and fear for my ds's future (he is unvaxed)

Fucking big pharma.

Gooseberrybushes Tue 19-Apr-11 18:58:48

good post bubbley

illuminasam Thu 09-Jun-11 13:52:15

Crikey. Unbelievable. I caught MRSA from a hospital in my first pregnancy and as a result miscarried at 22 weeks. I am also "on the fence" wrt vaccination, for my now 15 month old DS, probably going to go for a mixed approach by giving him some but not others.

Would I have an MRSA vaccination in a subsequent pregnancy, despite what has happened to me? Absolutely not. I blame the medical profession for the whole damn business and look for health solutions outside of their establishment as far as possible.

imadgeine Tue 14-Jun-11 17:13:03
If you are brave enough to see what happens when people stop vaccinating in a community, look at this clip from Australian television. There is an epidemic of whooping cough there, because herd immunity has dropped. Vaccination rates are low in affluent areas. Newborns then catch whooping cough.
It is also interesting to see the kind of people who write books telling mothers that vaccination is evil.
Of course big pharma is a flawed system but if your children are ever really ill then you will probably accept the drugs that big pharma have produced, because it is the only system we have. If

bubbleymummy Tue 14-Jun-11 17:34:58

imadgeine - you might want to have a look at the stats for whooping cough in adults in the US due to waning vaccine immunity. I think it's accepted that the vaccine only provides protection for 4- 8 years - how do you think that impacts on herd immunity? Also, infants are vaccinated against whooping cough at 4, 8 and 12 weeks (in the UK anyway) so are you saying that their vaccines aren't protecting them?

imadgeine Tue 14-Jun-11 21:55:29

They are being infected by older children who are not vaccinated. Watch the video and you will see that they are newborns dying. Whooping cough was extremely rare while vaccination rates were good.

bubbleymummy Tue 14-Jun-11 23:24:50

Imadgeine - how do you know it's not the no longer immune adults that are infecting them? Considering that they have admitted that the vaccine only lasts 4-8 years I'm not really sure how you expect to create herd immunity with it so what exactly is the point of your post?
"Get allthe unimmunused children vaccinated so they stop killing babies!" oh but wait - even if they're vaccinated there are still a lot of vaccinated children and adults around with waning immunity too....but we can't possibly blame anything on them hmm Seriously, go do some reading about the whooping cough vaccine and its effectiveness - you may be surprised.

mrsjohnsimm Wed 15-Jun-11 00:09:28

It was me (vaccinated against whooping cough as a child) who infected newborn DS with whooping cough. Although officially I was never recorded as a whooping cough statistic and he was -- if you've been vaccinated against whooping cough you are unlikely to be officially reported as having it.

CatherinaJTV Wed 15-Jun-11 09:31:42

Mrsjohnsimm - that is your doctor's fault then, since we know that pertussis immunity, be it through 100 days of nasty cough or through vaccine, does not last. I have been boostered and would recommend that to everyone ttc.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 15-Jun-11 09:42:02

It seems entirely sensible (and ethical) for the pharmaceutical companies to investigate long term solutions to the problem of resistant bacteria. What the hell is the point of investing all your effort (they are still doing some) in new antibiotics when we can predict that bacteria will eventually become resistant to these too? This is not as the thread title implies just 'big pharma' moneygrubbing - its about finding effective solutions.

Also, don't forget that existing classes of antibiotics are not without problems. Many people are allergic to the penicillin types (there are precious few antibiotics my mother can have), and some have adverse reactions (my MIL was recently given an antibiotic which affected her liver, made her very poorly).

bubbleymummy Wed 15-Jun-11 10:07:07

Grimma - this isn't about trying to find a better long term solution. It's about antibiotics that people only take for a couple of weeks not being profitable enough for the pharmaceutical companies. Better to manufacture a vaccine that you can promote as a one time solution, then introduce a booster a few years later (because actually it won't provide the long term protection you initially advertised), then whip up some media hype and create a shortage of this 'life saving' vaccine and bingo - big bucks for big Pharma. If you think they are doing this for the good of humanity you are a bit naive.

illuminasam Wed 15-Jun-11 10:07:28

I'm not against antibiotics per se - they've saved my life more than once (I'm one of the ones allergic to penicillin). It's the ubiquitous use of them that I think is misguided - the one-size-fits-all approach that means they're prescribed for everything. No wonder the bugs are fighting back! And those bugs have got stronger and stronger whereas we are less conscious and knowledgeable about practical measures to keep disease and illness at bay.

But vaccination to everything is not the answer either. It may be "ideal" to live in a completely disease and illness-free world but it is simply not possible. We need to learn (or re-learn?) how to avoid and manage illness more.

For example, my mother told me how her mother used to talk about diptheria and how it lives around stagnant water. How many people today have that knowledge? How many people would teach their kids to avoid stagnant water as a result?

Modern medicine is fabulous but it comes at a very high price.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 15-Jun-11 10:27:47

I'm a scientist and I've read other sources on this sort of story, thanks. Spinning every story to make it 'big bad pharma' is a misrepresentation of the honest efforts of the guys in white coats who really are motivated by wanting to find good solutions to medical problems.

Antibiotics must have been hugely profitable for their producers in the past - I'm not really convinced by the 'people only take them for 2 weeks' line, because vastly more people are prescribed ABs than any particular BP or heart etc med. It just isn't that easy to come up with a whole new class of drugs so of course it makes sense for other options to be explored.

The final quote in that piece is "We need to pursue every possible link, having one strategy is like having all your eggs in one basket."

... new ABs, vaccs and hygiene.

illuminasam Wed 15-Jun-11 10:33:16

I think this quote really sums it up for me:

"Pessimism is the order of the day, we're holding the line, but we're not gaining."

It's a war, the big guns have been deployed but still the enemy returns with even bigger guns. And like any war, unless one side backs down, both sides will destroy each other. No one wins.

Peace out.

bubbleymummy Wed 15-Jun-11 10:36:09

Grimma, I'm just quoting what was said in the article - they mentioned that it is not profitable for them to produce antibiotics that will only be needed for two weeks in comparison to things that need to be taken more long term. I don't disagree with research and trying to find solutions but I don't like the idea that potential solutions are being overlooked or ignored because they won't make enough money. I don't think you need to spin too much of a story to say that business is about making money and pharmaceuticals are a big business.

CatherinaJTV Wed 15-Jun-11 10:37:42

*It's about antibiotics that people only take for a couple of weeks not being profitable enough for the pharmaceutical companies.*

You assume that it is very easy to come up with new antibiotics against increasingly resistant bacteria, but part of the cost calculation are the huge development costs and the lower likelihood of actually finding something that is a) effective and b) well tolerated for c) a fair amount of time.

bubbleymummy Wed 15-Jun-11 10:51:59

And a vaccine isn't just as difficult and time consuming? Do they just appear out of thin air?

CatherinaJTV Wed 15-Jun-11 11:04:46

But bugs don't necessarily become resistant against vaccines.

Then again, the PCV7 has led to a shift in strains, followed by the introduction of PCV13. Why don't we discuss these facts rather than the perceived "greedy" pharma?

GrimmaTheNome Wed 15-Jun-11 11:06:37

'Just quoting what's in the article' may possibly be a tadge naive, you know. smile

Yes, commercial businesses have to make money. If pharmaceutical companies don't make money on one product then they can't develop anything else. And yes, they make money for their shareholders, but as so much of that is pension funds thats not such a terrible thing.

CatherinaJTV Wed 15-Jun-11 11:29:25

plus, if they don't make money and they don't develop scientific lines further, other research branches wither*:

* disclaimer: no pharma funding here anyway

bubbleymummy Wed 15-Jun-11 11:42:18

Grimma, that was in reply to your not believing the 'people only take them for two weeks' line. I was pointing out that it came straight from the horse's mouth as such - the European Federation of the Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations. It wasn't something I was making up myself.

So you think it is ok to overlook potential research and treatments if the profit margin isn't big enough? It is ok for our health to be held ransom to the pharmaceutical companies' bottom line?

bubbleymummy Wed 15-Jun-11 11:49:47

hostage not ransom hmm that will teach me to preview!

GrimmaTheNome Wed 15-Jun-11 12:14:22

Nope. Thats why we also need charities, the MRC etc.

The commercial companies need a healthy bottom line to allow them to continue their (mostly good) work. It would be unethical of them to spend their resources on projects that could bankrupt them.

bubbleymummy Wed 15-Jun-11 13:49:00

I'm not talking about bankrupting them. I disagree withonly considering an option based on its profit margin so antibiotics aren't being dismissed because they would make a loss but because they wouldn't make as much money as the vaccine.

That, to me, seems wrong because antibiotics may be the more effective treatment.

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