AMR is a global public health concern

Inappropriate use of antibiotics leads to antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

The greater the volume of antibiotics used, the greater the changes that antibiotic-resistant population develope. As a result, antibiotics become ineffective and infections persist in the body, increasing the risk of them spreading to others3. With the growth of global trade and travel, resistant microorganisms can spread promptly to any part of the world. The issue of antimicrobial resistance is worldwide, and connects priorities across the globe regardless of a country’s level of development.

Antibiotic resistance causes substantial healthcare costs and puts increasing burdens on healthcare services. It creates difficulties in curing previously treatable infections, in turn increasing morbidity and mortality4,5,6. Common and life-threatening infections like pneumonia, gonorrhoea, and post-operative infections, as well as HIV, tuberculosis and malaria are increasingly becoming untreatable because of AMR. If infections fail to respond to standard treatment, the result will be prolonged illness, higher healthcare expenditure and a greater risk of death.

AMR is estimated to cause approximately 700 000 deaths each year worldwide and around 25 000 deaths in the EU alone. Mortality due to infections with resistant bacteria has been projected to rise to above 10 million deaths per year by 20504,7.

Antibiotics are widely overprescribed especially in primary health care, where more than half of all patients with acute respiratory tract infections are treated with antibiotics8, despite evidence of benefit in only a small minority of cases. Most acute respiratory tract infections are viral and antibiotics are not needed to cure them. Antibiotics should only be given when a bacterial infection is suspected.