When Antibiotics Fail

The Expert Panel on the Potential Socio-Economic Impacts of Antimicrobial Resistance in Canada

Published in: Council of Canadian Academies (2019)

by B. Brett Finlay, John Conly, Peter C. Coyte, Jo-Anne R. Dillon, Greg Douglas, Ellen Goddard, Louisa Greco, Lindsay E. Nicolle, David Patrick, John F. Prescott, et al.

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Antimicrobials are life savers in Canada, enabling modern healthcare and playing a central role in agriculture. They have reduced the economic, medical, and social burden of infectious diseases and are part of many routine medical interventions, such as caesarean sections, joint replacements, and tonsillectomies.

As use of antimicrobials has increased, bacteria evolved to become resistant, resulting in drugs that are no longer effective at treating infections. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is increasing worldwide, and with widespread trade and travel, resistance can spread quickly, posing a serious threat to all countries. For Canada, the implications of AMR are stark.

When Antibiotics Fail examines the current impacts of AMR on our healthcare system, projects the future impact on Canada's GDP, and looks at how widespread resistance will influence the day-to-day lives of Canadians. The report examines these issues through a One Health lens, recognizing the interconnected nature of AMR, from healthcare settings to the environment to the agriculture sector. It is the most comprehensive report to date on the economic impact of AMR in Canada.

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