Ethical health security in the age of antimicrobial resistance 

  31 January 2022

Owing to its potential human, social and economic costs, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is frequently referred to as a threat to health security. Simultaneously, health security and the preservation of antimicrobials are often described as a global public good. However, how the term ‘public good’ is used in the context of health security, and the values that underpin it, remains ambiguous. Policymaking is never value-free, and a better examination of such values is critical to understanding how issues such as AMR are problematised and how policy decisions are informed.

The findings suggest that within the literature there is a lack of conceptual clarity as to whether antimicrobials constitute a public good or a common good. Moreover, the way in which antimicrobials are conceived and the approaches through which AMR as a threat to health security is addressed appear to be grounded in values that are often implicit. Being explicit about the values that underpin AMR and health security is not simply an intellectual exercise but has very real policy and programmatic implications.

Further reading: BMJ Global Health
Author(s): Kari Pahlman et al
Effective Surveillance  


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