Pay now or pay much more later

If unchecked, antimicrobial resistance could push millions into poverty



By the facts:

  • In India, already the added cost of treating a drug-resistant infection is more than a year’s worth of wages for a rural male casual worker. The need for more expensive antibiotics would place effective treatment out-of-reach.  

  • If not addressed, antimicrobial resistance could push another 24 million lives into extreme poverty by 2030. 

  • Antibiotic resistance is among the 10 threats to global health. If unchecked, antimicrobial resistance could result in losses up to 3.8% of global GDP, roughly the same as the economic impact of climate change. 

  • Actions to address antibiotic resistance turn threats into opportunities: Even the World Bank’s conservative estimates predict a 300% to 1,200% greater return on the investment. No wonder, the World Bank called action on antibiotic resistance “one of the highest-yield development investments available to countries today”. 

  • Investing to contain AMR globally will result in significant economic payoffs to low-income countries (SDG 1—No poverty), but the largest gains will go to high-income and upper middle-income countries.

Future generations cannot afford to pay the human and financial costs of antimicrobial resistance. If unchecked, AMR could result in economic damage on par with climate change, making investments now pay for themselves in the future. The choice is clear: pay now, or pay much more later.


Take Action!


Click to Tweet: World leaders must #paynow to create a future free from the fear of untreatable infections

Click to Tweet: Political declaration on AMR (2016) → IACG report (2019) → Future without #payingnow (2019-2020): 24 million people forced into extreme poverty (2030) → 10 million deaths per year (2050)

Additional Resources:


Drug-Resistant Infections: A Threat to Our Economic Future (World Bank Group)



Antimicrobial resistance and sustainable development: A planetary threat but financing orphan (ReAct and Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation)


Stemming the Superbug Tide: Just a Few Dollars More (OECD)


One smart upstream investment (Politico)


High cost burden and health consequences of antibiotic resistance: The price to pay (Journal of Infection in Developing Countries)


Created in 2005 ReAct - Action on Antibiotic Resistance is one of the first international independent networks to articulate the complex nature of antibiotic resistance and its drivers. ReAct was initiated with the goal to be a global catalyst, advocating and stimulating for global engagement on antibiotic resistance by collaborating with a broad range of organisations, individuals and stakeholders.


The IDEA (Innovation + Design Enabling Access) Initiative based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health seeks to foster innovation and the design of new technologies for greater health access and impact through a combination of research, policy work, and training. It also collaborates with a variety of initiatives across Johns Hopkins University and beyond.

To learn more about our Initiative, visit this post by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health


Views expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect those of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.