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Hsu LY, Kwa AL, Lye DC, Chlebicki MP, Tan TY, Ling ML, Wong SY, Goh LG
Correspondence: Dr Hsu Li Yang, email@example.com
Two alarming trends threaten the future utility of antimicrobial agents: rise of antimicrobial resistance and decline in development of new antibiotics. The continuing emergence and spread of antimicrobial-resistant microbes--a global public health issue--exacerbates the problem of paucity of new antimicrobial agents. Singapore's public sector hospitals currently have some of the highest rates of antimicrobial resistance worldwide, evolving with surprising speed over the past two decades. Because there was no systematic surveillance until fairly recently, this healthcare problem has not been emphasised. In contrast, it is difficult to assess the scale of antimicrobial resistance in the community in view of the lack of recent research, although indirect evidence suggests that this is also a source of concern. A panel comprising representatives from multiple professional healthcare societies was convened to address the issue of antimicrobial resistance in Singapore, focusing on the conservation of antibiotics against resistance. From a review of the medical literature, potentially successful strategies involve facilitating prudent and appropriate use of antimicrobial agents in tandem with other interventions in infection control. Presently, there is a lack of data on the appropriate use of antibiotics in Singapore. The recommendations of the panel are: The professions should look into ways and means to support systematic data collection on antibiotic use and appropriateness of use; The Ministry of Health should take a more active and positive role in regulating antibiotic usage; Hospitals should actively support effective antimicrobial stewardship programmes; Educators should coordinate programmes to give greater emphasis on appropriate antimicrobial prescription, and support good clinical practice; and, Local and regional branches of pharmaceutical companies should adopt the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America's updated code of conduct on interactions with physicians as a step towards re-aligning the industry-physician relationship in the direction of educational and informational support.
Keywords: antibiotic usage, antibiotic surveillance, antimicrobial drug resistance, antimicrobial stewardship, clinical education, pharmaceutical industry
Singapore Med J 2008; 49(10): 749-755