The consequences of generic marketing on antibiotic consumption and the spread of microbial resistance: the need for new antibiotics


Pierre-Louis Toutain, UMR 1331 Toxalim INRA, INPT– Ecole Nationale Veterinaire de Toulouse, 23 chemin des Capelles, BP87614 – 31076 Toulouse Cedex 03, France. E-mail:


In both human and veterinary medicine, it has been shown that flooding the market with different generics and/or ‘me-too’ branded drugs has increased overall antibiotic consumption correlating with the emergence and spread of bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Another possible undesirable consequence of the promotion of generics is the promotion of an economic incentive that encourages the use of old drug products with very poor oral bioavailability, marketed with historical dosage regimens and extensively excreted in the environment. What veterinary medicine rather needs is new innovative and ‘ecofriendly’ antibiotics to actually enforce a more prudent use of antibiotics. For a pharmaceutical company, generics are inexpensive to manufacture and on a short-term basis, the generic market is very appealing. However, on a long-term basis, this marketing orientation provides a disincentive to the development of new and innovative products that will be required to meet the therapeutic needs of the veterinary community while being consistent with public health concerns. Indeed, for veterinary medicine, the key issue surrounding antibiotics is public health. It is the opinion of the authors that veterinary antibiotics and/or veterinary drug formulations should be innovative in terms of selectivity (no or minimal impact on the commensal gut flora), biodegradable (with minimal environmental disruption), and more expensive, with a strictly regulated market rather than unselective, cheap, and freely available drugs.