Cost Of And Deaths Due to Antibiotic-Resistance Reach New Highs

Source: FierceHealthcare, Matt Kurt

Antibiotic resistance adds more than $1,000 to the cost of treatment for a single patient, according to a new study. Multiply that by the estimated number of antibiotic-resistant infections, and costs run well over $2 billion per year.

The study, published Wednesday in Health Affairs and conducted by researchers from Emory University and Saint Louis University, used data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey-Household Component collected from January 2002 through December 2014 to estimate the number of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections per year. During the period, such infections doubled from about 5% in 2002 to 11% in 2014.

Regression analysis suggested the incremental cost of treating an antibiotic-resistant infection was $1,383, a number that the authors note “likely understated the economic and healthcare impacts of antibiotic-resistant infections for several reasons.” Given the rapid growth in the number of such infections, however, even a conservative estimate yields costs substantial enough to make the case for increased policy focus on antibiotic stewardship and other actions geared toward combating the threat.

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