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Valley doctor says profits stopping companies from making antibiotics

(Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review via AP)

PHOENIX — A Valley doctor said pharmaceutical companies are not developing more antibiotics because it is not as profitable a business as it used to be.

“If you’re in a business, you don’t want to have somebody [taking your medication] for five days or seven days,” Frank LoVecchio with Banner Health said. “You’d rather take somebody take one pill, every day, for the rest of their life.”

LoVecchio said the seasonal use of antibiotics also plays a part in companies’ bottom line.

“It takes quite a bit of money to bring a drug to the market,” he said. “Why would you want to bring a drug to the market if you were able to use it once or twice a year?”

There was also the question of an increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which has created a need for stronger medications. LoVecchio said companies should be encouraged to develop antibiotics, perhaps by the federal government.

“Maybe there has to be incentives for these companies [to develop new antibiotics],” he said.

LoVecchio said he understands why doctors give patients who want to feel better antibiotics, even when the patient has a virus that cannot be killed by medication.

He said it’s up to patients to realize they may not need antibiotics.

“If a physician is going to give you antibiotics, ask them why,” he said. “Do they have to? Antibiotics do not work on viruses.”

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