• The World’s Penicillin Problem

    This project reveals the causes and consequences of a worldwide penicillin shortage

People are facing a shortage of Benzathine Penicillin G (BPG) around the globe - in both developing and developed nations alike. This can have dire consequences as it is the primary treatment for syphilis and of rheumatic heart disease - illnesses that affect millions of people worldwide.

Despite the reduction of its use over the past decades, BPG is still the most efficient drug to treat syphilis, especially among pregnant women, who need the drug to avoid mother-to-child transmission and prevent adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Without treatment, a quarter of pregnancies will end in pregnancy loss or stillbirth, according to estimates by the World Health Organization. Benzathine Penicillin G is also the first-line drug for victims of rheumatic heart disease, who need the medicine to control the disease.

The project will look into the supply chain of this drug to understand what is leading to shortages; into the victims who can't access this drug; and will examine what are the risks of antibiotic resistance associated with the misuse of drugs used as penicillin substitutes.

Picture by Heudes Regis.

Project links


Project information

  • Locations
    India, Brazil, South Africa, India, United Kingdom
  • Duration
    4 months
  • Release date
    April 2017
  • Budget
    € 20000
  • Round