Until recently the only available antibiotic eardrops for treatment of the discharging middle ear and mastoid cavity have been potentially ototoxic. With the advent of non-ototoxic fluoroquinolone eardrops, consensus panels in the USA, Canada and the UK have advocated the preferential use of these agents in the open middle ear. However, in Australia, no fluoroquinolone topical agent is approved for use with tympanic membrane perforations, and when used as an 'off label' eardrop, none is on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. This creates an ethical dilemma, particularly with best practice management of chronic suppurative otitis media in indigenous children. Despite concerns regarding resistance issues with ototopical use of systemic antibiotics, bacterial resistance has not been documented in major studies. For equity and ethical reasons, Australian regulatory authorities should consider approving a sterile non-ototoxic eardrop for use in the open middle ear.