Used as an additive in livestock feed, neem competes with the more widely used artificially formulated antibiotics in agriculture. The ease with which the latter is prescribed to livestock is resulting in rapidly growing levels of antibiotic resistance in the global population; a situation that is being compounded by a slow-down in new antibiotic drug development.
In 2013, out of the 506 new drugs in development in the US, only five were new antibiotics. Two years earlier, none of the 89 new medications that emerged were antibiotics. The lack of profitability and development time of new antibiotics, compared with other drugs, is a major hindrance for pharmaceutical companies.
Neem’s effectiveness as an alternative antibiotic in livestock feed is strengthened as it does not disrupt the body’s natural ecology. Unlike antibiotics, neem fights bacteria without causing resistance over time.