Drug-Resistant Infections: A Threat to Our Economic Future

Loss of drug-effectiveness because of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is increasing in developing and developed countries

Abstract

Drug-resistant infections occur when pathogens change in ways that render antimicrobial drugs ineffective. As a result, the pathogens survive and continue to spread. When infections are treatable with antimicrobials, people can be cured and further spread within the population can be readily contained. This has saved hundreds of millions of lives since wide use of these “miracle drugs” started over 70 years ago. Loss of drug-effectiveness because of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is increasing in both developing and developed countries. If this trend continues unchecked, the world will confront a reality where many infectious diseases have “no cure and no vaccine.”

This report provides insights into the extent and broad patterns of the economic impacts of AMR and their implications for poverty, should AMR continue to increase because of inadequate collective actions. Echoing other recent studies, this report underscores that the likely direct and indirect economic damage would be substantial. The annual costs could be as large as those of the global financial crisis that started in 2008.

This report was funded from the Department for International Development’s Policy Research Fund

Citation

World Bank. 2016. Drug-Resistant Infections: A Threat to Our Economic Future (Discussion Draft). Washington, DC: World Bank. License: Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 3.0 IGO

Drug-Resistant Infections: A Threat to Our Economic Future

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