World’s poorest hardest hit if development of new antibiotics not prioritised, says KPMG

World’s poorest hardest hit if development of new...

The report aims to quantify some of the consequences of higher AMR levels by looking at the impact different anti-microbial resistance (AMR) scenarios could have on the economies of 156 countries by 2050.

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Low income countries are likely to suffer the greatest loss of population and economic output if anti-microbial resistance (AMR) continues to spread unchecked according to new research released by KPMG today. The hardest hit region is projected to be Africa, with a worst case scenario predicting a fall in GDP of US$2.9tn in 2050, which represents 20% of the region’s total economic output.

The report, commissioned by the independent Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, established by the UK Prime Minister in the summer and chaired by economist Jim O’Neill, aims to quantify some of the consequences of higher AMR levels by looking at the impact different AMR scenarios could have on the economies of 156 countries by 2050.

Yael Selfin, Head of Macroeconomics at KPMG and author of the report comments:

“There has been increasing concern about the harm anti-microbial resistance (AMR) could cause to people and to the world economy, with AMR levels partially exacerbated by the overuse of antibiotics. What we found was those who are more vulnerable are likely to pay the highest price.”

Given the complexity of estimating the full impact of AMR, the analysis focused on three bacteria and three diseases with reasonable data on incidence and coverage. These were Staphylococcus aureus (best known in its methicillin resistant form – MRSA), Escherichia coli (widely known as E. coli), and Klebsiella pneumoniae, HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The report captured the economic impact on GDP of an increased level of mortality and proportion of the estimated rise in morbidity, as a result of a smaller labour force and lower productivity respectively. The economic impact was then projected using four potential AMR scenarios, with variations in resistance rates and infection rates.

Rising AMR levels are projected to cause increasing numbers of mortalities and morbidity across the world, with particularly devastating consequences for some of the world’s most vulnerable nations.

Yael adds: “AMR represents a genuine cost to society and the potential loss from not addressing the AMR challenge cannot be seen as a potential economic loss in isolation. The rise in AMR and its capacity to cause real damage to society, and to the world economy, should encourage the development of new antibiotics, and increase efforts to ensure future social and economic impacts are minimised.” 

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Notes to editors:

AMR is the term used to describe drug-resistant infections, sometimes referred to as ‘superbugs’. Antimicrobials include antibiotics, antivirals, antiparasitics and antifungals.

The full report: The global economic impact of anti-microbial resistance research is available to download at

The global economic impact of anti-microbial resistance research forms part of analysis for the Antimicrobial Resistance: Tackling a Crisis for the Health and Wealth of Nations report, which is available at


For further information, contact:

Ann Burton, KPMG Press Office

T: 020 7311 6497

M: 07467 339 719


KPMG Press Office: +44 (0) 207 694 8773


AMR press office

T: 020 7611 5729 



About KPMG

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 11,500 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.8 billion in the year ended September 2013. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 155,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.

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