The Economic Impact
Antibiotic overuse and underuse carry significant health-economic consequences that place a significant burden on healthcare systems.
Direct cost of unnecessarily prescribed antibiotics
The direct cost is estimated at over $10 billion annually. For example, the annual cost of unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions for adult upper respiratory infections in the US is estimated at $1.1 billion.
Indirect costs of unnecessarily prescribed antibiotics
These include the costs of treating preventable antibiotic-related adverse events such as allergic reactions, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, intestinal yeast infection, etc. and the costs of prolonged hospital stay as a result of avoidable adverse events.
Costs related to antibiotic-resistant bacteria
These include the costs related to longer hospital stays, the requirement to employ more expensive (last-resort) antibiotics, and the indirect costs associated with increased patient morbidity and mortality for families and society as a whole. Taken together, it is estimated that antibiotic-resistant infections cost the US health care system an estimated $20 billion annually, with an additional estimated $35 billion in lost productivity.
Indirect costs of not prescribing antibiotics when needed
These include the costs of treating preventable complications and the costs of prolonged disease duration as a result of delayed or no antibiotic treatment.
The enormous health and health-economic consequences of over- and under-prescription of antibiotics highlights the urgent unmet need for a solution that empowers physicians to use antibiotics appropriately.
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