Economic Impact of Antibiotic Misuse

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 of unnecessarily prescribed antibiotics is estimated at over $10 billion annually and the annual cost of unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions for adult upper respiratory infections in the US is estimated at $1.1 billion.

Indirect costs of unnecessary 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 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 US health care systems 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.

Economic Impact

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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