Infectious disease experts this week drew attention to the growing link between topical antibiotic treatments in New Zealand and the superbug MRSA.
Clinical microbiologist Deborah Williamson has stated that “our current use of topical antibiotics is endangering our antibiotic supply and putting lives at risk.”
Founder and Managing Director of AFT Pharmaceuticals, Dr Hartley Atkinson, says he agrees with concerns being voiced by medical professionals that topical antibiotic treatments are used too often, especially amongst children.
Dr Atkinson points out that there are topical applications available through pharmacies that are effective in treating skin infections, but do not carry any risk of antibiotic resistance.
AFT Pharmaceutical’s product Crystaderm® is an example. It contains hydrogen peroxide as an active ingredient for which no bacterial resistance exists. Crystaderm® has wide availability because it is fully funded by PHARMAC on prescription.
According to Dr Atkinson, the need for non-antibiotic topical applications became apparent some years ago.
“The use of fusidic acid products rapidly increased about 15 years ago once mupirocin became prescription only,”2 says Dr Atkinson. “We could see that large-scale use of antibiotic creams and ointments might create future problems from a drug resistance point-of-view. So we wanted to offer people a treatment option that was effective and non-antibiotic. Crystaderm® ticks both boxes.”
Dr Atkinson acknowledges that competitors might claim he is simply trying to advance sales of Crystaderm® by coming out in support of Dr Williamson.
“Look, they might say that,” says Dr Atkinson. “But frankly, human resistance to antibiotics is a much bigger issue than battles between pharma companies over market share. As a country, we’ve got to address this issue of overuse of antibiotics. Skin infection topical treatments are a good place to start.”