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Antibiotic crisis.

Heap, Tom
  • Videos

About this work


This Panorama Special researches the overuse of antibiotics in modern medicine, and the potential future issues that could arise if bacterial drug resistance continues to increase. Reporter Tom Heap visits patient Pamela Maddison-Bird, who contracted an antibiotic resistant superbug after a routine stomach operation. Professor Dame Sally Davies talks about the time frame for taking action on the overuse of antibiotic drugs. Microbiologist Professor Mark Wilcox talks about the rate of increase in the appearance of multidrug resistant organisms. Heap visits Sue Pascoe, who carries a Klebsiella pneumoniae bug in her gut after surgery in India and England. Heap explains the history of the use of Colistin. Professor Tim Walsh discusses what would happen if we lost the use of Colistin due to increasing resistance. Clips of a Panorama Special from 2015, exploring antibiotic resistance in India are shown. Clips of news broadcasts concerning Colistin resistance in China are also shown. Walsh conducts some field research, exploring whether antibiotic resistance is being exacerbated by use of the drugs in animal farming. He collects dung from farms to test. Dr Mark Holmes discusses a recent increase in the diversity of resistance genes. Veterinary Clinician Ellie Button examines a cow for signs of bacterial infection, and prescribes a third-generation cephalosporin. Holmes explains a new strain of multidrug resistant MRSA that is further resistant to cephalosporins. UK Chief Veterinary Officer Professor Nigel Gibbens discusses the frequent use of cephalosporins on livestock. Livestock Farmer Helen Browning discusses how she moved away from standard pig farming practices in an effort to avoid the regular use of antibiotics. Browning and Holmes discuss the role economics plays in endemic disease in animal farming. Clips of an interview with former Prime Minister David Cameron discussing drug resistance is shown. Lord Jim O’Neill expands on this. Heap and Walsh examine Heap’s dung samples. Chairman, National Pig Association Richard Lister talks about the NPA’s dedication to antibiotic use reduction. Browning, O’Neill and Lister discuss the potential for a total ban of antibiotic usage in animal farming. Gibbens explains how the government is funding antibiotic reduction efforts. Davies explains the real possibility of losing the use of “modern medicine” due to increasing antibiotic resistance.



Physical description

1 DVD (30 min.) : sound, colour, PAL ; 12 cm.

Copyright note

BBC Panorama.


Originally broadcast on 23rd May 2016 on BBC 4.

Creator/production credits

Produced and directed by Luke Mendham.
Presented by Tom Heap.



  • English

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