Antibiotic resistance threatens the capacity to treat life-threatening infections. If it is accepted that it will be many years (if not decades) until the production of new antibiotics overcomes current concerns with antibiotic resistance then ways to conserve the effectiveness of current antibiotics will have to be found. For many bacterial agents of infection levels of antibiotic resistance are directly dependent on the quantity of antibiotic prescribed. Antibiotics are currently underutilised in many parts of the world. If a just distribution of access to antibiotics requires equal access for individuals with equal need irrespective of wealth then responding to this requirement of justice has the potential to shorten the effective life of currently available antibiotics. Increasing the range and numbers of individuals treated with antibiotics would seem to threaten sustainability and also potentially undermine the access of future generations to cost-effective treatments for bacterial infection. The control of antibiotic resistance requires that the determinants of infectious disease transmission are addressed, such as poor housing, education and nutrition as well as the provision of antibiotics. The apparent tension between intragenerational justice and sustainability diminishes when the account of distributive justice extends beyond access to antibiotics and includes plural entitlements. Controlling antibiotic resistance requires more than the redistribution or reduction (in the overall use) of antibiotics.
- Social control of science/technology
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Read the full text or download the PDF:
Other content recommended for you
- Constraining the use of antibiotics: applying Scanlon's contractualism
- Meeting the challenge of antibiotic resistance
- Reducing hospital-acquired infections and improving the rational use of antibiotics in a developing country: an effectiveness study
- The ethics of prophylactic antibiotics for neurosurgical procedures
- Using antibiotics responsibly in companion animals
- The impact of interventions to improve the quality of prescribing and use of antibiotics in primary care patients with respiratory tract infections: a systematic review protocol
- What the public in England know about antibiotic use and resistance in 2020: a face-to-face questionnaire survey
- Setting the standard: multidisciplinary hallmarks for structural, equitable and tracked antibiotic policy
- Global prevalence of antibiotic resistance in paediatric urinary tract infections caused by Escherichia coli and association with routine use of antibiotics in primary care: systematic review and meta-analysis
- Impact of antimicrobial stewardship managed by clinical pharmacists on antibiotic use and drug resistance in a Chinese hospital, 2010–2016: a retrospective observational study