Societal Cost

Societal Cost

In the U.S. alone in 2013, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that there are approximately 2 million serious infections annually, resulting in 23,000 deaths and $20 billion in excess health care costs. 190 million antibiotic doses are administered daily in hospitals and 133 million courses are prescribed with up to 50% either not needed or ineffectively prescribed.

More recently, Lord O’Neill’s Independent Review of Antibiotic Resistance reported that infections caused by drug-resistant pathogens is one of the biggest health problems the world faces today. Bacteria and other pathogens have always evolved to resist the new drugs that modern medicine uses to combat them. But in recent years the rise in drug resistance has been a particular worry, especially the emergence of antibiotic-resistant superbugs. Unless action is taken to address this huge global issue, the report conservatively estimates that it will cost the world an additional 10 million lives a year by 2050, more than the number of people currently dying from cancer annually. It will also have a cumulative cost of $100 trillion, more than one and a half times annual world GDP today, or roughly the equivalent to losing the UK economy from global output every year.

World Health Organisation Key Facts:


  • Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health today. It can affect anyone, of any age, in any country
  • Antibiotic resistance occurs naturally, but misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is accelerating the process
  • Antibiotic resistance leads to longer hospital stays, higher medical costs and increased mortality