Doc Talk #130 – Antibiotic Resistance, an $85 trillion problem



In this show, we talked about “Antibiotic Awareness Week” declared by the World Health Organization.

I’d argue we are all too aware of antibiotics!

In a recent OECD report, it was estimated that the costs of antibiotic resistance over the next 30 years could be $85 trillion in lost GDP and $23 trillion in global trade.

Resistance is overtaking our ability to develop new antibiotic drugs.

In the United States, 80% of antibiotic use is in livestock

The good news is that with some relatively simple and inexpensive measures, we stand a good chance of averting some of the human and economic costs.

Some simple measures include:

  • Good hand hygiene / handwashing in healthcare settings
  • Antibiotic stewardship – using antibiotics appropriately
  • Use of rapid diagnostic tests in clinical settings, to avoid prolonged/unnecessary antibiotic use
  • Changing prescribing strategies – including “delayed” prescriptions
  • Public awareness of appropriate antibiotic use and the dangers of resistance (check out the Do Drugs Need Bugs? website)

The number one message for DocTalk listeners? Let’s stop being so darn casual about antibiotics and give them the respect they deserve

What can you do personally?

  • If your physician recommends an antibiotic, ask if there are any alternatives. This can help reduce the information gap between doctors and patients.
  • If you are prescribed antibiotics, take them as prescribed
  • Dispose of unused medication carefully (ideally take it back to a drug store)
  • Make sure you are up to date with vaccines
  • Don’t skip antibiotic doses
  • Don’t demand antibiotics for viral infections
  • Don’t save your antibiotics for the next time you are sick
  • Never take someone else’s antibiotics

Click the link above to listen again and learn more!



Title image by Naille tairov [CC BY-SA 4.0 (, from Wikimedia Commons

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