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Economics of Antibiotic Resistance: A Theory of Optimal Use

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  • Laxminarayan, Ramanan
  • Brown, Gardner M.

Abstract

In recent years bacteria have become increasingly resistant to antibiotics, leading to a decline in the effectiveness of antibiotics in treating infectious disease. This paper uses a framework based on an epidemiological model of infection in which antibiotic effectiveness is treated as a nonrenewable resource. In the model presented, bacterial resistance (the converse of effectiveness) develops as a result of selective pressure on nonresistant strains due to antibiotic use. When two antibiotics are available, the optimal proportion and timing of their use depends precisely on the difference between the rates at which bacterial resistance to each antibiotic evolves and on the differences in their pharmaceutical costs. Standard numerical techniques are used to illustrate cases for which the analytical problem is intractable.
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  • Laxminarayan, Ramanan & Brown, Gardner M., 2001. "Economics of Antibiotic Resistance: A Theory of Optimal Use," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 183-206, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:42:y:2001:i:2:p:183-206
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    1. Philipson, Tomas, 2000. "Economic epidemiology and infectious diseases," Handbook of Health Economics,in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 33, pages 1761-1799 Elsevier.
    2. D. Hueth & U. Regev, 1974. "Optimal Agricultural Pest Management with Increasing Pest Resistance," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 56(3), pages 543-552.
    3. Hartwick, John M, 1978. "Exploitation of Many Deposits of an Exhaustible Resource," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 201-217, January.
    4. Gardner Brown & Ramanan Laxminarayan, 1998. "Economics of Antibiotic Resistance," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 0060, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
    5. Brown, Gardner & Layton, David F., 1996. "Resistance economics: social cost and the evolution of antibiotic resistance," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(03), pages 349-355, July.
    6. Weitzman, Martin L., 1976. "The optimal development of resource pools," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 351-364, June.
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