Adam Smith Blog

The rise of drug resistance

ON SEPTEMBER 21st in New York all 193 UN member states agreed to tackle the growing resistance of microbes to antibiotics. Drug-resistant infections now kill more than 700,000 people a year. On current trends, that number may reach 10m by 2050.

One measure of the problem is the Drug Resistance Index, developed by the Centre for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP), a think tank. The index runs from zero, meaning that antibiotics are fully effective, to 100, which means pathogens are fully resistant to them. The index accounts for differences by country in the mix of drugs used and how often they fail to work. In 27 mostly European countries CDDEP has calculated the index at least twice between 2000 and 2014; four to 14 years separate the first and last year for which data required for the calculation were available in any…Continue reading

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