REGULATION: Bad Treatment For a Medicine

Bad Treatment For a Medicine

Bacitracin is a helpful antibiotic commonly used to treat cuts and abrasions. But now the substance has ended up in the middle of a bruising bureaucratic scrape. Last week a federal appeals court in Washington ruled that it lacked authority to order the Environmental Protection Agency to remove bacitracin from a list of 406 hazardous substances, where EPA officials concede that the drug landed by mistake.

The EPA peremptorily added the antibiotic to its hazardous-substances roll call in 1985, using misinformation from another agency. The listing sets strictures only on the warehousing of more than 10,000 lbs. of the substance in...