Too Many Antibiotics for Healthy Humans?

This is a Henry Miller editorial at

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fully three-quarters of all antibiotics prescriptions from office-based physicians are for the symptoms of upper respiratory infections – sore throats, runny noses, congestion, coughing, earaches and so on – which are most often caused not by bacteria, but by viruses. Thus, antibiotics won't help.

Antibiotics put bacteria under selective pressure, killing sensitive organisms but allowing drug-resistant mutants to survive, so that the over-use of antibiotics gives rise to drug-resistant bacterial populations….. Infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria contracted by patients in hospitals are a particular problem. Almost two million patients nationwide become infected in hospitals each year – approximately 4.5% of admissions – and 100,000 die, according to the CDC.

Comments (3)

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  1. Neil H. says:

    I think antibiotics make people feel better, even if they don’t solve any health problem.

  2. Bart says:

    Since obecalp is rarely used anymore, this is a good argument for physicians prescribing vitamins or one of the popular herbal remedies. I think some do anyway, just to satisfy patients. Beats handing out antibiotics.

  3. Bret says:

    Agree with Bart. Overuse of antibiotics is a prime example of what economists call an externality. My use has harmful effects on you and everybody else.