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Saturday, November 16, 2019
Antimicrobial resistance now deadly
According to a report from the Canadian Council of Academics, antimicrobial resistance cost the Canadian economy more than $2 billion in lost Gross Domestic Product last year and was implicated in 14,000 deaths.
On the other hand, first-line antimicrobials helped save at least 17,000 lives last year and generated $6.1 billion in economic activity in Canada.
“This contribution is at risk because the number of effective antimicrobials are running out,” the report warned.
One reason is reluctance of drug companies to invest in research and development for two reasons: health-care specialists use new antimicrobials sparingly to reduce the development and spread of resistant bacteria and patents expire before companies can recoup their costs.
The authors estimated that by 2050, if resistance rates remain unchanged, the impact will be $13 billion per year. If rates continue to increase, the estimate rises to $21 billion.
Healthcare costs due to resistance accounted for $1.4 billion in 2018 and will likely increase to $20-40 billion per year by 2050, the report said.
Last year about 20 per cent of bacterial infections were resistant to first-line antibiotics. By 2050, that will be 40 per cent, the report warns.