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March 4, 1974

In Comment

JAMA. 1974;227(9):1029-1030. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230220019003

THE POSSIBLE overuse of antibiotics should be a subject of considerable importance to all physicians in their desire to practice good therapeutics. Unfortunately, the problem of accumulating hard, reliable data documenting widespread improper or excessive use of antibiotics is complex and is confounded by a lack of agreement among authorities as to what constitutes proper usage. Nevertheless, many experts well-versed in antibiotic therapy believe that this group of agents may be the most improperly used class of drugs in all of medicine.

It is obvious that Drs. Simmons and Stolley believe that there is gross misuse of antibiotics in the United States. To support their views, they present some data, postulate several hypotheses, and raise a multitude of questions that imply poor therapeutic practice in the use of this important group of drugs. Much of these data are sound, the hypotheses may be correct, and many of the questions appear