Efforts to improve the health of poor people in the developing world by increasing the availability of drugs to treat diseases such as malaria, HIV and TB are having a serious unintended side effect: accelerated drug resistance, which is raising costs and claiming lives.
A CGD working group report, The Race Against Drug Resistance, warns that the world is rapidly losing its ability to treat these and other common diseases, such as dysentery and respiratory infections that can lead to deadly pneumonia. The report warns that without an immediate global effort to safeguard lasting treatment effectiveness, drug resistance will quickly become a widespread threat—claiming lives, raising the cost of curing patients, and making future generations increasingly vulnerable to deadly diseases, such as typhoid and gonorrhea, that were easily cured in the past.
It urges pharmaceutical companies, governments, donors, global health institutions, health providers, and patients to tackle this global health threat by implementing four key recommendations:
Collect and share drug resistance information across disease networks.
Secure the drug supply chain to ensure quality products and practices.
Strengthen national drug regulatory authorities in developing countries.
Catalyze research and innovation to speed the development of resistance-fighting technologies.
The short film above tells the story of Khalifa, a nurse in Ghana who contracted typhoid. She takes one drug and then another—each more expensive than the last—but still she isn’t well. The film uses expert interviews and animation to explain why drug resistance threatens us all—and what we can do about it.