The Influence of Social Norms

The overprescription of antibiotics in the United States can be attributed to two main causes: maximization of individual benefit, and social norms that often defy rationality. Policy solutions to growing antimicrobial resistance aimed at changing behavior within the physician- patient dyad are largely ineffective, as neither party has a strong disincentive to prescribe or use these generally safe drugs, and present illness weighs far heavier than potential future resistance. The most effective, short-term policies, then, will focus on preventing transmission rather than reducing prescription.

The McDonnell Norms Group
Ramanan Laxminarayan
Anup Malani et al.