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Aspects juridiques de la résistance aux antibiotiques: Etude de droit suisse et de droit comparé

English title Legal Implications of Antibiotic Resistance: A Swiss Law and Comparative Law Study
Applicant Sprumont Dominique
Number 103165
Funding scheme NRP 49 Antibiotic resistance
Research institution Institut de droit de la santé Faculté de droit Université de Neuchâtel
Institution of higher education University of Neuchatel - NE
Main discipline Legal sciences
Start/End 01.03.2004 - 31.03.2006
Approved amount 172'326.00
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Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
Legal Implications of Antibiotic Resistance: A Swiss Law and Comparative Law Study

There is an increasing number of infections for which antibiotics remain ineffective. This is for instance the case for meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Between 70 to 80 % of MRSA carriers do not present any symptoms. Yet, around one carrier out of four is likely to develop an infection caused by MRSA, thus stressing the need for prevention. The undetected patient carrying MRSA is a major source of transmission of MRSA.

The public health consequences of those antibiotic-resistant infections are severe enough to have encouraged several governmental agencies and professionals associations to launch specific control programmes. Yet, few studies have so far been conducted on the legal challenges raised by this major public health problem.

The current project intends to clarify the legal issues linked to the present and future efforts to build a system of surveillance and control of antibiotic resistance in Switzerland. The project is divided in three parts: (1) a analysis of the Swiss legislation, (2) a comparative law analysis and (3) a study of the legal problems associated with MRSA as an exemplary cause of multiresistant infections.

The goals of the project will be to cover a large array of specific questions such as the following:
- Are patients entitled to know the prevalence of MRSA in given hospitals ?
- Is there a legal obligation for the health authorities to inform the public of the results of the surveillance system by giving the detailed results on multiresistant germs in different hospitals ?
- Does a person detected as carrying MRSA have the right to refuse treatment to eradicate the germ?

The project should be a useful contribution in the adaptation of the legal framework to the challenge that constitutes the resistance to antibiotics for public health, the protection of patients’ rights and the practice of healthcare professionals.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

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