What does the future of health care look like when antibiotic resistance is at play? Many Americans agree that this issue requires the attention of public health initiatives in order to prevent potential negative consequences. In a new national survey commissioned by Research!America in collaboration with the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) and with support from Pfizer, nearly two thirds of Americans (65%) confirmed that they believe antibiotic resistance is a public health problem. Further, a strong majority (81%) say they are concerned that antibiotic resistance will make future infections more difficult or impossible to treat, and even deadly.
However, despite this awareness, it appears that the majority of Americans need more education on how antibiotic resistance arises, and what they can do to slow down this process. For example, despite the fact that antibiotics are not effective in treating viral infections, such as the cold or the flu, more than a third (37%) of those surveyed still wrongly stated that antibiotics are an effective treatment for viral infections. Additionally, only 57% of those surveyed are aware that even a single course of antibiotics taken when not appropriate can contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance.
The results of the survey support action across all sectors. Nearly three quarters (73%) of those surveyed agree that the federal government should provide incentives to encourage increased private sector investment in the development of new antibiotics, reflecting consensus among 80% of Republicans, 76% of Democrats and 63% of Independents. Some 83% of those surveyed believe pharmaceutical companies should develop more antibiotics. In fact, only 21% of those surveyed say that no action is needed from the federal government on antibiotic research and development at this time.