Can doctors in Barbados be more conservative in the way they prescribe drugs to the average Joe? This comes on the heels of the fact that the world is suffering a drug shortage at this time, and the cost of health care in Barbados has been going beyond the reach of the government.

In the news of late, it has been reported that there is an international shortage of drugs used in the treatment breast, leukemia, ovarian and lung cancers. Barbadian officials have also alerted the public that cancer patients, especially those suffering with breast cancer, have not been receiving their chemotherapy at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH). The hospital apparently ran out of the drug Paclitaxel.

The reasons behinds shortages seem to be anyone's guest, without those directly responsible making any efforts to inform worried members of the public who might be suffering from cancer, or might have a family member, or a friend who might have such a condition.

We all know too well that if one visits a doctor's office for something as simple as a cold one is bombarded with anti-biotics which in themselves might be harmless against the common cold now commonly called the flu, chiefly caused by viruses and therefore an antibiotic which affects bacteria will have very little results, if any.

Doctors continue to prescribe these antibiotics because they are interested in a patient's future patronage. Some doctors might be afraid that if they were to say to a patient who has just paid about $70 to be consulted by him/her for the flu, and is told to get some rest, and drink plenty of fluids, they might not ever see that patient again. Patients like doctors who prescribe medication it seems.

Mice on antibiotics can't fight the flu as well as mice that haven't taken the drugs, say researchers from Yale. Antibiotics quash the immune system's infection-fighting power by killing friendly bacteria living in the intestines, the researchers report in "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."

"There's a lot of beneficial effects of having commensal bacteria," says Akiko Iwasaki, a Yale immunologist who led the study.(sciencenews.org)