The Potential Socio-economic Impacts of Antimicrobial Resistance in Canada

The Minister of Science, on behalf of the Public Health Agency of Canada, has asked the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) to examine the current state of knowledge on the socio-economic impact of antimicrobial resistance on Canadians and the Canadian health care system.

The Question

  • What is the socio-economic impact of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) for Canadians and the Canadian health care system?

Progress Report

The Expert Panel on the Potential Socio-economic Impacts of Antimicrobial Resistance in Canada held its second meeting from June 4 to 5, in Vancouver.  An approach was chosen for the development of a socio-economic model, the report outline was refined, and additional new research, as well as research gaps, were identified. The next panel meeting will take place in early September in Toronto.

Background

The era of antimicrobial use began in the 1920s, with the discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming, who cautioned even at that time against the inevitability of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). As anticipated, antimicrobial effectiveness has declined over time, and AMR is emerging. Although AMR occurs naturally, with pathogens’ innate ability to adapt to antimicrobials, it is increased by other factors, such as inappropriate use of antimicrobials, emerging mutations, and colonization.

AMR is a rising global health threat. Patients who are affected by drug-resistant pathogens are at risk of increased infections, longer hospitals stays, and even death. As the prevalence of resistant bacteria increases, they become the prominent agents causing human infection. Even common infections are less treatable with available drugs. In spite of the rapid development of AMR, few new antimicrobial agents are being developed.

As antimicrobial resistant organisms become more prevalent, it is important to understand how this impacts Canadians, particularly vulnerable populations. As such, this assessment will examine the socio-economic impact of AMR for Canadians and the Canadian health care system.

Expert Panel

The Chair of the Expert Panel on the Potential Socio-economic Impacts of Antimicrobial Resistance in Canada is Dr. B. Brett Finlay, O.C., O.B.C., FRSC, FCAHS, Peter Wall Distinguished Professor at the University of British Columbia. For a complete list of panel members, visit the Expert Panel page.

For further information, please contact:

Emmanuel Mongin, Project Director, at 613-567-5000 ext. 284 or emmanuel.mongin@scienceadvice.ca   

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Samantha Rae Ayoub, Communications and Publishing Director at 613-567-5000 ext. 256 or samantha.rae@scienceadvice.ca