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Antibiotics “most important development”

29 November 2010

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Antibiotics are the most important medical development of the last 50 years, according to a new poll of GPs.

Doctors from around the globe contributed to a survey organised by the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, which is celebrating five decades of medical achievement at a forthcoming conference.

Vaccination against infectious diseases was ranked second and imaging developments such as CT and MRI scanning third.

Anti-TB therapy, anti-viral therapy for HIV, statins, kidney dialysis, kidney and liver transplantation, and beta-blockers were all in the top 20 achievements.

Dr Neil Dewhurst, president of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, said advances in medicine in the past 50 years now provide patients with “unprecedented” levels of treatment.

He said: “As an individual, it is difficult to say which singular development has been the most important, as all doctors will have their own views regarding which development has been the most beneficial within their own area of specialisation, be it cardiology or infectious diseases.

“From the results of this survey it is clear that doctors throughout Scotland, UK and internationally believe the most important developments to be in relation to the availability of effective antibiotics and vaccination.

“Whilst agreeing with this point, it is also vital that doctors and patients are aware of the dangers of over-using antibiotics and that antibiotics are prescribed safely and wisely in order to reduce the risk of drug resistance and problems like MRSA and C difficile.”

Copyright © Press Association 2010

Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh