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AMR threat underlined by new study

The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, established in July 2014 by the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon David Cameron MP, has published its first paper.

Speaking at the launch of the paper, economist Jim O’Neill and Chairman of the Review said: “Drug-resistant infections already kill hundreds of thousands a year globally, and by 2050 that figure could be more than 10 million. The economic cost will also be significant, with the world economy being hit by up to $100 trillion by 2050 if we do not take action.”

The threat of drug-resistant infections has increased in recent years and in this initial study the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance set out to estimate the global economic cost – both human and financial – of antimicrobial drug resistance by 2050. It commissioned two multidisciplinary research teams from RAND Europe and KPMG to each provide their own high-level assessments of the future impact of AMR based on scenarios for drug resistance and economic growth.


The headline figures are alarming, but the studies only estimate part of the impact of AMR because only a sub-set of bacteria highlighted as being key AMR concerns were looked at due to the ready availability of data and the calculation of financial cost was limited strictly to GDP and did not take into account social and healthcare costs.

The study says: “One of the greatest worries about AMR is that modern health systems and treatments that rely heavily on antibiotics could be severely undermined,” and cautions that taking no action could lead to a ‘dark-age’ of medicine.

In conclusion, the Review urges the need for prompt and co-ordinated global action and by Summer 2016 is scheduled to recommend a package of such actions to be agreed internationally to tackle this growing, global threat.