Antibiotic resistance a global threat to health, economy

June 17, 2015 5:28 am 

UNITED NATIONS, June 16 — Antibiotic resistance is a massive global threat with both health and economic consequences, an expert said here Monday.

Jim O'Neill, an economist and chairman of the Review of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), told an expert panel that the estimated global cost of antimicrobial resistance between now and 2050 could be USD 100 trillion in lost output.

The close links between AMR and infectious diseases, including AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, as well as the inappropriate prescription and use of antibiotics, meant that the health costs of AMR are also increasing, O'Neill said.

"If we do not do something about it there could be 10 million people a year dying from this, bigger than the number of people that die from cancer today," O'Neill said.

AMR is already a global health problem. Almost one in every five cases of tuberculosis is now multi-drug resistant, Nata Menabde, director of the World Health Organization's New York office, told the panel.

Menabde said that AMR also meant that there would be fewer surgeries because doctors could no longer control post-surgery infections with drugs.

The inappropriate use of antibiotics, including using antibiotics when they were not needed, self-prescription and patients not following the instructions to take antibiotics for the full course of treatment, were some of the reasons why AMR is increasing, Menabde explained.

O'Neill said that he also hoped that AMR would be a focus of the G20 Summit to be held in Hangzhou, China, in November 2016. (PNA/Xinhua)

JBP/SSC

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