News & AnalysisPUBLIC HEALTH

China Takes Aim at Rampant Antibiotic Resistance

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Science  18 May 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6083, pp. 795
DOI: 10.1126/science.336.6083.795

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The Chinese government is leading a crusade to warn its people against the perils of frivolous antibiotic consumption. The campaign culminated last week in a Health Ministry directive laying out stricter regulations for prescription drugs. Bacteria that cannot be stopped by common drugs are proliferating around the world. But a health care system that encourages doctors to churn out prescriptions, intensive marketing by pharmaceutical companies, and heavy use of antibiotics in animal husbandry and fisheries make China a special case. China's health ministry hopes to ward off calamitous outbreaks of drug-resistant strains.