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August 22, 1959


Author Affiliations

Washington, D. C.

Director of Division of Antibiotics, Food and Drug Administration, U. S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

JAMA. 1959;170(17):2093-2096. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.63010170010012

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In the United States antibiotics are probably our most important and most widely used therapeutic agents, and it is unlikely that any one of us will pass from "cradle to grave" without having one or more administered to us for some sound medical reason.

Background to the Problem  In 1957, total antibiotic production was over 2,500,000 lb., and it probably need not be emphasized here that these drugs have had wide and, in some cases, indiscriminate use. Their remarkable curative powers, more pronounced perhaps in the early days than now, resulted in their being injected, insufflated, given by mouth, spread on every part of the body, and sprayed intra-abdominally, intracisternally, intrapleurally, and intravaginally; no surface or cavity of the body has remained inviolate.There are now over 400 preparations of antibiotics available for clinical use, and they run the gamut of injectables, ointments, powders, sprays, capsules, syrups, ear and eye

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