Open Medicine EU

At an award ceremony a few days ago, the overall winners of the 2011 EU Health Prize for Journalists were Ben Hirschler and Kate Kelland from the UK, with an article on antimicrobial resistance “When the drugs don’t work”. The second prize went to Rita Makarész from Hungary for her article “The cheapest antidepressant”.

The subjects covered by the winners are highly topical.

We are facing a huge crisis in the availability of antibiotics. Four of the national entries for the prize were about antibiotics, as I described in a previous post.

The second prize-winning article also deals with an area where medication is over-used and the writer argues the merits of exercise and a balanced diet as a remedy for depression. This remedy may not work in all cases but there is a huge body of evidence in its favour. There is also a huge body of evidence that medicines are often ineffective and sometimes harmful in dealing with depression, although I am not arguing here that they never work. (To declare an interest, I am now living without anti-depressants for the first time in many years. It’s not always easy, especially in retirement, but so far so good.)

See here for more on the awards , and the other prize-winners.

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