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Economics of Antibiotic Resistance: A Theory of Optimal Use

  • Laxminarayan, Ramanan

    ()

    (Resources for the Future)

  • Brown, Gardner

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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Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-00-36.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 2000
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-00-36
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  1. Weitzman, Martin L., 1976. "The optimal development of resource pools," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 351-364, June.
  2. Gardner Brown & Ramanan Laxminarayan, 1998. "Economics of Antibiotic Resistance," Working Papers 0060, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  3. 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.
  4. John Hartwick, 1975. "Exploitation of Many Deposits of an Exhaustible Resource," Working Papers 182, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  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.
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