Antimicrobial Resistance Should Garner Same Level Of Attention As Climate Change, Expert Writes In Opinion Piece

Project Syndicate: Where Is the AMR Rebellion?
Jim O’Neill, chair of Chatham House, former chair of Goldman Sachs Asset Management and former U.K. Treasury Minister

“The threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is being overshadowed by the menace of climate change. Though the AMR problem is arguably equal in importance, it has not commanded nearly the same level of public awareness. … If we don’t reduce our dependency on unnecessary antibiotics and succeed in developing new ones (or alternatives such as vaccines), annual deaths stemming from AMR could reach ten million by 2050. And on the economic front, the total costs of this failure (from 2015 to 2050) could top $100 trillion. … And yet, aside from public statements by governments and multilateral organizations, little is being done about this existential threat to human wellbeing. … Given the lack of action on this issue, it is time to start pushing for countries to list AMR as a cause of death on public death certificates. And, for its part, the International Monetary Fund needs to start analyzing national health systems in its country-level assessments, as it is already doing with respect to climate-change preparedness. The global groundswell for climate action now has the force of what we in finance would call a momentum trade. AMR, meanwhile, seems stuck in what we would call a value trap. But it won’t stay there forever. One way or another, it will make itself known” (12/10).