Antibiotic prescribing behavior among physicians: ethical challenges in resource-poor settings
AbstractPrescribing antibiotics to patients represents an ethical dilemma for physicians since the current health needs of the patients have to be balanced with concerns for long term containment of antimicrobial resistance in the community. Overuse of antibiotics is a major pathway for development of antimicrobial resistance. In resource-poor settings a complex social reality can influence antibiotic prescribing behavior among physicians which apparently violates the conventional biomedical ethics principles especially beneficence and justice. These social factors include patient socioeconomic class, patient demand for antibiotics, competition among practitioners and conflict of interest arising from the physician’s social relationship with his/her patient. Current approaches for combating antimicrobial resistance in the developing countries are inadequate in factoring and dealing with those irrational prescription practices which are driven predominantly by subtle violation of medical ethics as opposed to blatant economic and professional profiteering.
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