Unveiling the Global Threat of Antimicrobial Resistance: Insights from the OECD Report
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) poses a significant global threat, driven primarily by the misuse of antibiotics. This issue is explored in-depth in an OECD report, which reveals critical insights and potential consequences of unchecked AMR.
- Global Antibiotic Consumption: Over the past two decades, the use of antibiotics in humans has moderately increased in OECD and EU/EEA countries but significantly surged in non-OECD G20 nations. Notably, the consumption of last-resort antibiotics has risen faster than the total antibiotic use.
- Animal Antibiotic Usage: Consumption of antimicrobials in animals decreased by half between 2000 and 2019 within OECD countries, with a potential additional 10% decline projected by 2035. However, in G20 countries, veterinary antimicrobial sales are expected to nearly double that of OECD countries by 2035, even after adjusting for livestock population.
- Alarming Resistance: Without effective action, resistance to third-line antibiotics could be 2.1 times higher in 2035 compared to 2005, making the treatment of diseases like pneumonia and bloodstream infections significantly more challenging. In certain cases, up to 90% of infections may become resistant.
- Human and Economic Costs: Organisms resistant to antimicrobials result in approximately 79,000 deaths annually. The economic cost of AMR across 34 OECD and EU/EEA nations is around USD 58 per capita, driven by increased health expenditure and reduced workforce productivity. Healthcare-associated resistant infections account for a substantial portion of these costs.
- National Action Plans: While most OECD, EU/EEA, and G20 countries have developed national action plans to combat AMR, only a fraction of them have incorporated financial provisions for implementation. Enhancing implementation of best practices in health, agriculture, and the environment, as well as improving surveillance systems, is a priority.
- Effective Interventions: Programs promoting prudent antibiotic use, improved hygiene in healthcare settings, and enhanced food handling practices have been shown to prevent the highest number of deaths due to resistant infections. These interventions are also cost-effective.
- One Health Approach: A multi-disciplinary policy approach known as One Health is affordable. Investing around USD 4 per capita annually across human health and food sectors in 34 OECD and EU/EEA countries could avert more than 17,000 deaths, save billions in health expenditure, and yield significant economic gains.
Addressing AMR is imperative to safeguard public health and the economy. The OECD report underscores the urgency of implementing comprehensive strategies to combat AMR effectively. For detailed insights, please refer to the full OECD report.