Saturday, February 23, 2013

Antibiotic Resistance in a Free Society: Philosophy in Action Podcast

By Diana Hsieh

On Sunday's Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered a question on antibiotic resistance in a free society. The question was:

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:

Tags: Business, Capitalism, Charity, Free Society, Government, Health, Law, Medicine, Negligence, Rights, Torts

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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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