Bugs and Drugs

Antibiotics (ABs) work against bacteria, not viruses. Yet out of ignorance, patients press doctors to prescribe ABs for viruses. Doctors do it to please ill-informed patients. Regrettably, this results in drug resistant bacteria; a terrifying public health hazard. The dilemma is that the gains from overuse of ABs are private (happy patients) whereas the costs are public (drug resistant bacteria). Problems like this are rarely solved absent government intervention.

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