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?



Progress Report

The Expert Panel met for the fifth and final time in Ottawa from April 16 to 17 where they addressed peer review comments and worked to finalize the report. The Panel will meet via teleconference to sign off on the final draft of the report in June before it enters publication. The report is expected to be released in November 2019.