Amoxycillin (Amoxil) is a new penicillin which differs from ampicillin only in possessing a hydroxyl group on the side chain. In vitro the drugs have identical antibacterial activity and cross-resistance is complete.1 Nevertheless the manufacturers make only a cursory comparison between features of the two antibiotics in their promotional literature. This is a serious omission, since a new antibiotic should not be launched with so little reference to the yard-stick by which it will inevitably be assessed, namely the manner in which it compares with the well-tried ampicillin, over which it may have certain advantages. Bencard, which markets Amoxil is in fact a subsidiary of Beecham, the makers of ampicillin.
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