Battling Resistance to Antibiotics and Pesticides: An Economic Approachby Ramanan Laxminarayan
The increasing resistance of bacteria to antibiotics, and pests to pesticides, threatens to undo some of the most remarkable advances made in public health and agriculture during the past century. Though the potential consequences of increased antibiotic and pesticide resistance are far reaching, regulatory efforts to address the problem are at a very early stage. Battling Resistance to Antibiotics and Pesticides moves such discussions forward by presenting cutting edge research and the first comprehensive application of economic tools to analyze how antibiotics and pesticides should be used to maximize their value to society. Laxminarayan and his contributors explore lessons from past experiences with resistance, especially in agriculture. They consider what incentives would be ideal for the individuals who prescribe or apply antibiotics and pesticides, and what would be ideal for the firms engaged in developing and producing these products. The chapters in this groundbreaking book reflect the fact that efforts to combat resistance will require contributions from a broad range of scholars and professionals, representing a broad range of expertise. The analysis demonstrates that, for all these participants, an understanding of economic issues is an essential complement to knowledge of medical or biological factors. The book provides economists with an overview of relevant scientific issues, as well as a variety of analytical approaches to studying the economics of resistance. It offers policymakers detailed analyses of the multiple dimensions of resistance and discusses the future strategies to combat and manage resistance. For professionals in medicine, public health, and agriculture, the book translates the economic approaches into usable guidance for daily practice and decisionmaking.
Description: This book applies economic analyses to issues of resistance to antimicrobials and pesticides. It is a well edited multiauthored book based on a conference held in 2001.
Purpose: The book has the stated objective of bringing together "a variety of approaches to the economics of resistance." This is certainly an important goal which the book meets.
Audience: It is intended for "policymakers and health and agricultural professionals." The chapters vary from easily understood commentary to those which are packed with complex analyses that will exceed the comprehension of most of the intended audience. The mathematically complex chapters, however, all have understandable introductory and concluding sections. There is little literature in this area; the editor has a rather recent doctoral degree in economics and is a fellow of the Resources for the Future.
Features: Although understandable from the editor's perspective, inclusion of information about both pesticides and antibiotics in the same book is unexpected. The two areas imply very different audiences. The book discusses management of resistance, the impact of resistance and concludes with several chapters about the relationship of these issues to business.
Assessment: This is a seminal effort examining resistance from an economist's perspective. The book will likely be most useful to other economists. It assumes a level of knowledge of economics that is well beyond that of most healthcare professionals. However, it belongs as a resource wherever studies of resistance issues will be done.
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Meet the Author
Ramanan is a senior fellow at Resources for the Future in Washington, DC. His research includes the integration of epidemiological models of infectious disease transmission and the economic analysis of public health problems. He has worked with the World Health Organization on evaluating malaria treatment policy in Africa, and recently served on a National Academy of Science/Institute of Medicine Committee on the Economics of Anti-malarial Drugs. He teaches international health policy in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and development economics at the Johns Hopkins University?s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.
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