You know what an antibiotic is. You know they are the ultimate in modern medicine and they are designed to cure infections. 
Maybe you’ve heard about superbugs in the news. Perhaps your doctor told you to make sure to finish all the antibiotics you were prescribed. 
Imagine someone you love develops an infection after surgery and the only way to save them is antibiotics. Now imagine that their particular infection can defeat every single antibiotic available in the world. Worse, the new antibiotic on the market that might have given them a chance is no longer in production because the company that makes it went under.
Source: XKCD
Source: XKCD
Does this situation make any logical sense? No, of course not. 
How can we need antibiotics but antibiotic developers are going out of business? Pharmaceutical companies are well known to have lots of money from making drugs for all kinds of illnesses — why are the producers of antibiotics any different? 
Simple answer — capitalism works great for everything except antibiotics and, if we don’t change how we view antibiotics, modern medicine as we know it may not be around for much longer. 
Before we can get into the detailed answer, we need to talk about fire fighting. 
You probably have a fire extinguisher or two somewhere in your home. Maybe you walk past one at your office every day. Perhaps you have a story about having to use a fire extinguisher on a fire! 
No one wakes up hoping they get to use a fire extinguisher that day. Not even the fire department. 
Fire fighters go to work every day and hope they don’t get any calls. They perform regular maintenance on all their gear and stay at the station 24/7 just as a precaution. We pay them to be available and prepared so they can come to our rescue when we need them. 
If we didn’t pay for the fire department for years and then a fire broke out in the middle of your town, can you imagine the damage? People would die unnecessarily, the medical system would be overwhelmed, and the fire could spread beyond the borders of the town. The fire might rage through the whole county, then the region, and then your entire country. It might even spread through the entire world, just like COVID-19. 
A fire fighter uses a hose to subdue flames engulfing a home while a physician uses antibiotics to stop an infection in your body. We need to be prepared for fires – the flame kind and the medical kind. As a society, we are prepared for the flame kind. But the medical? We aren’t even close. 
Without antibiotics, all of modern medicine will change worldwide. Diseases we think of only being in the history books could become a part of every day life again. Minor surgery could become life threatening. An infected cut on your hand could be the end. Childbirth will easily endanger the lives of mothers and newborns. Cancer treatments will be nearly impossible. Antibiotics are vitally important to all of humanity. 
Every time you need antibiotics, you buy them. Seems fair, right? 
You would never buy a fire extinguisher as a fire is breaking out so why are we treating the fire extinguishers of medicine like this? 
We, as a society, need to change how we view and pay for antibiotics. We should pay for all fire extinguishers in advance to make sure we have them when we need them.  
So, what can you do? More than you think. 
Watch a movie that could have been very different with (or without!) antibiotics.
Read why we need the DISARM and PASTEUR Act.
Spread awareness of antibiotic and antimicrobial resistance. 
Talk to lawmakers about this crisis.  
Learn to talk about this crisis by watching the video below. 
Subscribe to the AMR.Solutions newsletter and, if you have questions, reach out via email or social media. 
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