The Ethical Significance of Antimicrobial Resistance

Public Health Ethics. 2015 Nov;8(3):209-224. doi: 10.1093/phe/phv025. Epub 2015 Sep 30.


In this paper, we provide a state-of-the-art overview of the ethical challenges that arise in the context of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which includes an introduction to the contributions to the symposium in this issue. We begin by discussing why AMR is a distinct ethical issue, and should not be viewed purely as a technical or medical problem. In the second section, we expand on some of these arguments and argue that AMR presents us with a broad range of ethical problems that must be addressed as part of a successful policy response to emerging drug resistance. In the third section, we discuss how some of these ethical challenges should be addressed, and we argue that this requires contributions from citizens, ethicists, policy makers, practitioners and industry. We conclude with an overview of steps that should be taken in moving forward and addressing the ethical problems of AMR.