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An economic perspective on policy to reduce antimicrobial resistance

Author

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  • Coast, J.
  • Smith, R. D.
  • Millar, M. R.

Abstract

Resistance to antimicrobial drugs is increasing worldwide. This resistance is, at least in part, associated with high antimicrobial usage. Despite increasing awareness, economists (and policy analysts more generally) have paid little attention to the problem. In this paper antimicrobial resistance is conceptualised as a negative externality associated with the consumption of antimicrobials and is set within the broader context of the costs and benefits associated with antimicrobial usage. It is difficult to determine the overall impact of attempting to reduce resistance, given the extremely limited ability to model the epidemiology of resistant and sensitive micro-organisms. It is assumed for the purposes of the paper, however, that dealing with resistance by reducting antimicrobial usage would lead to a positive societal benefit. Three policy options traditionally associated with environmental economics (regulation, permits and charges) are examined in relation to their potential ability to impact upon the problem of resistance. The primary care sector of the U.K.'s National Health Service provides the context for this examination. Simple application of these policies to health care is likely to be problematic, with difficulties resulting particularly from the potential reduction in clinical freedom to prescribe when appropriate, and from the desire for equity in health care provision. The paper tentatively concludes that permits could offer the best policy response to antimicrobial resistance, with the caveat that empirical research is needed to develop the most practical and efficient system. This research must be conducted alongside the required epidemiological research.

Suggested Citation

  • Coast, J. & Smith, R. D. & Millar, M. R., 1998. "An economic perspective on policy to reduce antimicrobial resistance," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 29-38, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:46:y:1998:i:1:p:29-38
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Halkos, George, 1993. "Economic incentives for optimal sulphur abatement in Europe," MPRA Paper 33705, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Ger Klaassen & David Pearce, 1995. "Introduction," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 5(2), pages 85-93, March.
    3. Michael Grossman, 1972. "The Demand for Health: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gros72-1, August.
    4. Tietenberg, T H, 1990. "Economic Instruments for Environmental Regulation," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 17-33, Spring.
    5. Halkos, George E., 1993. "Sulphur abatement policy: Implications of cost differentials," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(10), pages 1035-1043, October.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. John B. Horowitz & H. Brian Moehring, 2004. "How property rights and patents affect antibiotic resistance," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(6), pages 575-583.
    2. Elamin H. Elbasha, 2003. "Deadweight loss of bacterial resistance due to overtreatment," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(2), pages 125-138.
    3. Smith, Richard D. & Yago, Milton & Millar, Michael & Coast, Jo, 2005. "Assessing the macroeconomic impact of a healthcare problem: The application of computable general equilibrium analysis to antimicrobial resistance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 1055-1075, November.
    4. Herrmann, Markus, 2010. "Monopoly pricing of an antibiotic subject to bacterial resistance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 137-150, January.
    5. Filippini, Massimo & Masiero, Giuliano & Moschetti, Karine, 2006. "Socioeconomic determinants of regional differences in outpatient antibiotic consumption: Evidence from Switzerland," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 77-92, August.
    6. Joanna Coast & Richard Smith & Anne-Marie Karcher & Paula Wilton & Michael Millar, 2002. "Superbugs II: how should economic evaluation be conducted for interventions which aim to contain antimicrobial resistance?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(7), pages 637-647.
    7. Catherine A. Goodman & Paul G. Coleman & Anne J. Mills, 2001. "Changing the first line drug for malaria treatment-cost-effectiveness analysis with highly uncertain inter-temporal trade-offs," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(8), pages 731-749.

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