The Potential Socio-economic Impacts of Antimicrobial Resistance in Canada


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’s 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.

The Sponsor: Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)

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


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Progress Report

The Expert Panel on the Potential Socio-economic Impacts of Antimicrobial Resistance in Canada held its third meeting September 6 to 7, in Toronto. Panel members reviewed the preliminary results of the socio-economic model, refined the report outline, and provided guidance on existing report structure and content. The fourth panel meeting will take place in Toronto in early January 2019. The report is on track for a public release in fall 2019.