Economic consequences of drug resistance..

Jim O Neill of Goldman Sachs has this important piece on the topic.

The bacteria and parasites in future are likely to develop resistance to these existing drugs and medicines. This will have serious economic consequences:

When British Prime Minister David Cameron asked me in July to lead an effort to find solutions to the growing global problem of antimicrobial resistance, my first question was: “What is that?” I soon learned that, as bacteria and parasites develop resistance to existing drugs, like antibiotics and antimalarial medications, the world is at risk of losing its battle against infectious diseases. So my next question was: “Why me? Don’t you need a scientist?”

It turns out that the problem of rising antimicrobial resistance is as much about economics as it is about science or medicine. Left unchecked, it will kill millions of people every year, and have serious adverse economic consequences for the world. For developing economies, including most of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) and MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Turkey) countries, the risk is particularly large.

Recent research, by an independent review on antimicrobial resistance, which I chair, has modeled the phenomenon’s likely impact on the world economy. It suggests that if we fail to address antimicrobial resistance, the problem will grow worse.

By 2020, if we allow resistance to rise by 40%, global GDP will be 0.5% smaller than it otherwise would have been. By 2030, it will be 1.4% smaller. By 2050, the economic shortfall will reach 3%. The accumulated loss of global output over the next 35 years will total $100 trillion – more than one and a half times annual world GDP today.

Already, 60,000 people die every year from causes related to antimicrobial resistance in the United States and Europe – some ten times the worldwide death toll from the ongoing Ebola crisis. By 2050, if the problem is allowed to continue to grow, antimicrobial resistance will kill more than ten million people per year. That is more than the number of people who currently die of cancer, diabetes, lung cancer, road traffic accidents, diarrhoeal disease, and HIV/AIDS combined. The economic costs from the resulting panic, including a collapse of travel and trade, could be devastating.

Well, some bit we can already see atleast in India. The insects hardly react to the several of those repellents sold in the market today. Infact they fly and bite you just next to the repellent itself! The end result is we are again seeing all these insect borne diseases resurface big time.


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