By Diana Hsieh
How would antibiotic resistance be handled in a free society? Bacteria acquire resistance to antibiotics by exposure to low doses of antibiotics. Such low doses may come from misuse of antibiotics, for example when taken to combat a cold or flu (which are viral infection against which antibiotics do nothing) or by not completing the full course as prescribed by a doctor. Antibiotics are indeed awesome drugs which have saved millions of lives. But resistant bacteria pose a serious health problem, often causing serious and difficult-to-treat illness in third parties. What would be the proper way to address this problem in a free society?
My Answer, In Brief: In a free society, the development of antibiotics would not be hampered by the FDA, and private efforts could be made to minimize infections and promote proper use of antibiotics. The thorny legal question is whether the routine use of antibiotics in livestock, which contributes greatly to antibiotic resistance, constitutes a tort.
Download or Listen to My Full Answer:
- Duration: 17:07
- Download: MP3 Segment
Tags: Business, Capitalism, Charity, Free Society, Government, Health, Law, Medicine, Negligence, Rights, Torts
- The Objective Standard: How the FDA Violates Rights and Hinders Health by Stella Daily
- Scientific American: Worried about Antibiotics in Your Beef? Vegetables May Be No Better by Matthew Cimitile
- US News: Doctors Struggling to Fight 'Totally Drug-Resistant' Tuberculosis in South Africa by Jason Koebler
- Emerging Infectious Diseases: Emergence and Spread of Extensively and Totally Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis, South Africa
- NoodleFood: Antibiotics and Livestock
- New England Journal of Medicine: The Future of Antibiotics and Resistance
To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.
A podcast of the full episode – where I answered questions on the value of marriage, antibiotic resistance in a free society, concern for attractiveness to others, semi-automatic handguns versus revolvers, and more – is available here: Episode of 17 February 2013.
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