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Infect Ecol Epidemiol. 2012;2. doi: 10.3402/iee.v2i0.18165. Epub 2012 Aug 20.

Antibiotic resistance - why is the problem so difficult to solve?

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Department of Economics, Swedish University for Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.


Antibiotic resistance has been increasing along with antibiotic use. At the same time, the supply of new drugs to replace those rendered inefficient by the development has been dwindling, leading to concerns that we may soon lack efficient means to treat bacterial infections. Though the problem has received considerable interest, there are no indications that the situation is about to change. The present review maintains that this is because the two objectives - preserving the efficiency of existing drugs and increasing the supply of new ones - are partly opposing. Hence, creating an incentive structure compatible with both of them is not easy. Nevertheless, it is suggested that levying a fee on the use of antibiotics, and earmarking the proceeds from this fee for subsidizing development of new antibiotics, would be an important step towards increasing incentives for a better antibiotic stewardship while preserving incentives to develop new substances.


antibiotic stewardship; drug development; fees and regulation; global problem; incentives

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