Drug resistance likely to kill 400,000 Canadians by 2050, report predicts

November 13, 2019

An expert panel chaired by, Peter Wall Institute Distinguished Scholar in Residence, Brett Finlay cautions in “When antibiotics fail: The growing cost of antimicrobial resistance in Canada” that the percentage of bacterial infections resistant to treatment is likely to grow from 26 percent in 2018 to 40% percent by 2050. This increase is expected to cost Canada 396,000 lives, $120 billion in hospital expenses and $388 billion in gross domestic product over the next three decades.

The report notes that resistance could increase the risk and reduce the availability of routine medical procedures including kidney dialysis, joint replacement, chemotherapy and cesarean section. These procedures all carry a threat of infections for which antibiotics are commonly prescribed. Brett Finlay was quoted by the CBC trying to convey the magnitude of the situation. “This is almost as big, if not bigger, than climate change in a sense because this is directly impacting people. The numbers are just staggering.” 

Dr. B. Brett Finlay is a, UBC Peter Wall Distinguished Professor, a Professor in the Michael Smith Laboratories, and Co-Director and Senior Fellow of the CIFAR Humans and Microbes program. He is also co-author of the book Let Them Eat Dirt: Saving Your Child from an Oversanitized World. Dr. Finlay is the author of over 500 publications in peer-reviewed journals and served as editor of several professional publications for many years.