Chancellor says AMR could become deadlier than cancer

Chancellor George Osborne has warned that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) will become an even deadlier threat to mankind than cancer is today unless there is coordinated global action to address the issue.

Appearing in Washington, DC, today to discuss international action to “tackle the growing problem of antibiotics becoming powerless against common infections”, the Chancellor (pictured above) said that the latest evidence suggested that by 2050 10 million people a year could die globally as a result, which is more than currently die from cancer each year.

He also warned that apart from the consequences for human health, there will be an “enormous economic cost” too, claiming that by 2050, AMR could reduce global GDP by up to 3.5%, equivalent to a cumulative cost of $100 trillion.

According to a Government news release, the Chancellor said the reimbursement models for antibiotics and diagnostics are “broken” and need a “global overhaul”.

He also backed a proposal from Treasury minister Lord O’Neill and others to create “market entry rewards”; large lump sums paid to a pharmaceutical company, or set of companies, that successfully get a new antibiotic or diagnostic to market.

Lord O’Neill, who was commissioned by the UK government to lead a review on AMR, is due to publish his final set of recommendations next month.

The Chancellor was appearing at an IMF meeting alongside the director general of the World Health Organisation, Dr Margaret Chan, and the former US Treasury Secretary, Larry Summers.

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