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What is the social and economic impact of AMR?

For patients, families, and doctors that deal with untreatable infections the threat and impact of AMR is very visible. However, even for those who are not in direct contact with AMR, its repercussions reach far and wide. There is the rising death toll, but the economic impact of AMR is also enormous with estimates putting it at 100 trillion USD per year by 2050 (AMR Review, 2016). At the moment, the World Health Organization (WHO) states that infections due to multidrug-resistant bacteria cost the European Union (EU) alone more than 1.5 billion Euro per year in healthcare expenses and productivity losses.  In terms of individuals, the AMR Review 2016 estimates that by 2050, on average, 1 person will die every three seconds and every individual in the world today will be 10,000 USD worse off.

The OECD predicts that across Europe, North America, and Australia 2.4 million people could die if antimicrobial resistance is not addressed (OECD, 2018). Aside from the human cost, the economic cost of ignoring AMR is also astronomical. As drug resistance becomes more widespread, healthcare costs will climb and sustainable food sources will feel a greater strain. Due to these predictions, the World Bank Group estimates that as many as 24 million people worldwide may be forced into extreme poverty conditions by 2030 (World Bank Group, 2019).  The main burden of this economic downturn will fall on already strained low-income countries and, globally, could be comparable to the 2008 financial crisis (WHO, 2019).