Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 181–185 | Cite as

Do Physicians’ Legal Duties to Patients Conflict with Public Health Values? The Case of Antibiotic Overprescription

Article

Abstract

Among the many explanations for antibiotic overprescription, some doctors cite the risk of malpractice liability if they deny a patient's request for an antibiotic and the patient's condition worsens. In this paper, I examine the merits of this concern—i.e., whether physicians could, in fact, face malpractice liability for refusing to prescribe an antibiotic when, from a public health perspective, the use of the antibiotic would be considered inappropriate. I conclude that the potential for liability cannot be dismissed entirely, but the risk is remote—even in cases where there is a chance that the antibiotic might have benefited the patient.

Keywords

Over-prescription Malpractice Anti-biotics 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Health & Pharmaceutical Law & PolicySeton Hall University School of LawNewarkUSA

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