Health policies and data

Antimicrobial Resistance


Antimicrobial resistance is a growing health and economic threat requiring a multipronged response

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a complex issue of global concern. It occurs when microorganisms develop resistance to antimicrobials they are exposed to. The misuse of antibiotics in the medical, veterinary and agricultural sectors, which include the inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics, their overuse in the livestock sector, and insufficient hygiene practices in hospital, all contribute to the rise of AMR. Global trade and travel are also accelerating the spread. At the same time, the development pipeline of new antibiotics has slowed, mainly due to insufficient incentives, allowing microorganisms to outpace the development of new drugs. The rise of AMR may be reversible by reducing inappropriate use of antimicrobials.

AMR poses a significant burden on healthcare systems and national budgets. Hospitals spend, on average, an additional USD 10,000 to 40,000 to treat a patient infected by resistant bacteria in OECD. Social costs may be as high as healthcare costs, due to loss of productivity and income. More worryingly, with the rise of AMR, we are now heading towards a ‘post-antibiotic era’ where common infections may become, once again, fatal.

The OECD provides a forum for discussion and provide countries with the evidence to implement effective and cost-effective policies to tackle AMR, promote effective use of antimicrobials and incentivise research and development in the antibiotic sector.



Read our latest report Stemming the Superbug Tide - Just A Few Dollars More.
Released on November 2018

Key documents on antimicrobial resistance

DATA on antibiotics

Access the data behind the graph, in OECD.Stat.


The G7 has consistently committed to tackling global health challenges, including the fight against infectious diseases, and positioned itself as a leading partner in reaching health-related Millennium Development Goals, by initiating and supporting many global instruments of response to threats posed by infectious diseases. The findings presented in this report show that there is a strong case for G7 action in the area of AMR.


Read the note prepared for the G20 by OECD along with WHO, FAO and OIE, on potential strategies to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and ensure sustainable research and development (R&D) for new antibiotics. The note calls for action based on a coordinated and cross-sectoral approach under the ‘One Health’ framework, highlights the urgent need to address barriers to innovation and suggests policy and governance mechanisms to reactivate the antibiotic R&D pipeline.

In the Hamburg G20 declaration, leaders called for a new R&D Collaboration Hub and committed to further examine practical market incentive options, in collaboration with relevant experts including from the OECD and the WHO.

FURTHER information

OECD, with its distinctive cross-sectoral expertise and its global outreach, is placed in a unique position to help countries in tackling AMR. OECD’s economic expertise includes such diverse areas as health, technological innovation and agriculture. We provide a forum for discussion and provide countries with the evidence to implement effective and cost-effective policies to tackle AMR, promote effective use of antimicrobials and incentivize research and development in the antibiotic sector. More specifically:

1) in close collaboration with Member Countries and EU Institutions, OECD is undertaking a health economic evaluation to identify the most cost-effective strategies to tackle AMR in humans by promoting rational use of antimicrobials and prevent the spread of resistant infections

2) as part of the background work for the 2017 OECD Health Ministerial meeting, OECD has assessed the level of implementation of policy actions to promote effective use of antimicrobials in member countries and have collected evidence about best practices across OECD.


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