Prof. Dame Sally Davies, England's chief medical officer, has warned of an "apocalyptic" scenario when the rate of drug resistant infections rises and antibiotics lose their effectiveness in an increasingly growing world.
"It is clear that we might not ever see global warming, the apocalyptic scenario is that when I need a new hip in 20 years I'll die from a routine infection because we've run out of antibiotics," Prof. Davies warned, as reported by BBC News. She added that a number of bacteria are becoming resident to drugs that are currently used to treat infections, and that there are not enough antibiotics to replace those drugs.
"It is very serious, and it's very serious because we are not using our antibiotics effectively in countries," Prof. Davies added, nothing that there was only one effective antibiotic left to treat gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted disease that has especially affected countries in Africa.
England's chief medical officer was speaking to a committee of members of parliament (MPs) in the U.K. and explained that in the near future, routine operations could become deadly due to the threat of infection
"There is a broken market model for making new antibiotics, so it's an empty pipeline, so as they become resistant, these bugs, which they would naturally but we're breeding them in because of the way antibiotics are used, there will not be new antibiotics to come," Prof. Davies added.
Professor of bacteriology Hugh Pennington of the University of Aberdeen also warned that people can't expect new wonder drugs to come along.
"We do need to pay much more attention to it. We need resources for surveillance, resources to cope with the problem and to get public information across.," Prof. Pennington said.
An annual report with possible solutions to the problem will be published by the Department of Health in March.
Prof. Davies also recently spoke out against treating users of illegal drugs as criminals, according to The Telegraph.
"I think we have a health problem, and we would do well as a nation to look at is as a health problem. I think there's quite a lot of evidence from other countries, and science, about how you could go about that," she said, suggesting that it was time the government decriminalized some drugs, and that she was "ready with quite a lot of advice" about how to help drug users.