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The Economist Examines Factors Contributing To Antimicrobial Resistance

“Antibiotic resistance has now become a costly and dangerous problem,” The Economist writes in an article examining the factors that have contributed to the global rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria, ahead of next week’s World Health Day dedicated to the issue.

“[A]ntibiotic resistance has both medical and financial costs. It causes longer and more serious illnesses, lengthening people’s stays in hospital and complicating their treatment,” and the infections sometimes result in death. While resistant bacteria pose the greatest risks to the young, old and those with chronic illness, “there could be worse to come. Nearly 450,000 new cases of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis are recorded each year; one-third of these people die from the disease,” the magazine writes.

Misuse, substandard antibiotics and weakened health systems have led to a rise in antibiotic resistance, according to The Economist, which describes the role governments, companies, health care workers, and aid agencies could play in reining in antibiotic use.

Another response to fighting antimicrobial resistance is the development of new antibiotics. However, that too faces challenges, The Economist reports. “Since resistant infections are still a small proportion of the total, although serious for those who suffer them, the market for drugs that overcome them is small,” the magazine writes, adding, “It is restricted further by the fact that much of the resistance problem is in poor countries that cannot afford flashy, new drugs.” The article describes several drug development advances, as well as the ongoing efforts to incentivize more work in this area (3/31).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.