On the 11th of December 2014, an analysis was presented by renowned economist Jim O’Neill showing that by 2050 drug resistant infections will kill an extra 10 million people a year worldwide – more than cancer, which in comparison will account for 8.2 million deaths – unless action is taken. Furthermore, it is forecast that over the next 35 years, 300 million people will die prematurely because of drug resistance, cutting total global gross domestic product by between 2 percent to 3.5 percent by 2050. This means that between now and 2050 the world will lose between $60 trillion and $100 trillion of economic output if antimicrobial resistance is not tackled.
The study, “Antimicrobial resistance: Tackling a Crisis for the Health and Wealth of Nations”, is the first output of a review to address the growing global problem of drug-resistant infections, hosted and funded by the Wellcome Trust, and which was commissioned by the UK Prime Minister in April 2014. The mission of the major international review is to look broadly at the economic issues surrounding antimicrobial resistance, including how to incentivize the drug pipeline to encourage new drug development, but also to focus on our relationship with existing antimicrobials and how they can be used better to treat illness. This first study highlights the vast financial and human costs that unchecked drug resistance will have, underlining that this is not just a medical problem, but an economic and social issue too.
Mr O’Neill said his team will now be exploring what actions can be taken to avert this looming crisis in order to identify a range of proposals that could form the basis of a new, strengthened global effort. O’Neill stated that initial conversations with companies, researchers, clinicians and policy makers provide cause for optimism. “We have met a vibrant field of university researchers and biotech entrepreneurs teeming with ideas to solve this problem – from early stage development of new drugs, to vaccines, and alternative therapies, such as antibodies. For each stage of the innovation cycle, we will consider whether and what action can be taken to accelerate these ideas,” O’Neill said.
The study is available here: http://www.his.org.uk/files/4514/1829/6668/AMR_Review_Paper_-_Tackling_a…