(From the Ask Dr. Ruwart section in Volume 19, No. 17 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)
Question: Should there be any restrictions on the supply of antibiotics? Do you believe that overuse and misuse of antibiotics accelerates the development of resistance to antibiotics in pathogens?
My short answer: If by “restrictions,” you mean voluntary ones by medical professionals, I would say “yes.” When antibiotics first came out, they were used — like most new things — more frequently than was optimal. Germ resistance developed, making new antibiotics that worked in different ways necessary.
We are now running out of such options. Physicians and hospitals generally withhold the latest and greatest antibiotics unless the older ones fail. We’ve learned from our mistakes, for the most part.
If by “restrictions,” you mean federal regulations, my answer would be “no.” Regulations in this arena take life and deaths decisions out of the hands of doctors and into the hands of bureaucrats, who are more likely to show poor judgment since their knowledge of both the problems and the individual circumstances are limited.
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