Those who have made a study of the production and use of and side-reactions due to administration of antibiotics have been convinced that the number and severity of such reactions have been on the increase for several years. In 1956, about 2,500,000 lb. of antibiotics were produced in this country, and, although there are 17 different antibiotics clinically available, penicillin for drug use accounted for 597,589 lb. (25%) of the total produced. Production of penicillin for drug use during the years encompassed by the nationwide survey of severe reactions to antibiotics reported at the Antibiotics Symposium held in Washington, D. C., on October 2, 3, and 4, 1957, was as follows: 1953, 499,898 lb.; 1954, 600,131 lb.; 1955, 437,176 lb.; and, as noted above, 1956, 597,589 lb.
Until 1945, there was only one type of penicillin preparation (the injectable sodium or calcium salt). Today there are 121 preparations commercially available.