Guatemala's new law designed to stop people purchasing antibiotics without a prescription — coming into effect this week — is problematic on so many levels for me.
The country has no real equivalent to the National Health Service in the UK, so any dictat that prevents people of limited means from accessing these medicines, especially in an emergency, without a prior visit to a doctor is bound to result in unnecessary additional suffering, if not fatalities.
Once my mother passed eighty she tended to suffer from recurring bacterial infections. She had private medical insurance and was hospitalised each time this happened. This was absurd, but she would have been in a real pickle if she didn't have an easy option.
The law here seems to have a blanket effect. Yet like almost all laws here (viz plastic bags) it is bound not to be enforced with anything like fairness or consistency.
What of really handy treatments for people (women in particular) with occasional urinary tract infections such as one-shot fosfomycin?
After the first receta surely they should be allowed to repeat on their own discretion? Or maybe certain medications should be excluded from the provision?
And then what of people with pets? When Osli was nearing the end his skin cancer resulted in infections which I was treating regularly with amoxycilin. A vet would have had him put him down immediately. Part of the problem was the way the original outbreak was handled with an operation. (Clavi used to suffer from regular urinary tract infections until I discovered the curative powers of apple cider vinegar.)
But cats and dogs are always picking up minor infections and transporting them to and from the vet is sometimes more irksome than the equivalent effort for humans.
Pharmacists can surely be trained to function as gatekeepers, excluding those who'd self-heal a sniffle with penicillin.
And just how is one to stockpile for the zombie apocalypse...!