Conséquences économiques de la résistance aux médicaments

LONDRES – Quand le Premier ministre britannique David Cameron m'a demandé en juillet dernier de diriger une initiative pour trouver des solutions au problème mondial croissant de la résistance antimicrobienne, ma première question fut : « Qu'est-ce que c'est ? » J'ai vite appris que, de même que les bactéries et les parasites développent une résistance aux médicaments existants, comme par exemple les antibiotiques et les médicaments antipaludéens, le monde risque de perdre sa bataille contre les maladies infectieuses. Donc ma question suivante a été : « Pourquoi moi ? Pourquoi ne demandez-vous pas cela à un scientifique ? »

Il s'avère que le problème de l'augmentation de la résistance aux antimicrobiens concerne autant l'économie que la science ou la médecine. Si rien n'est fait, ce problème va coûter la vie à des millions de personnes chaque année et aura de graves conséquences économiques néfastes à l'échelle planétaire. Pour les pays en développement, dont la plupart des pays des BRIC (Brésil, Russie, Inde et Chine) et des MINT (Mexique, Indonésie, Nigéria et Turquie), le risque est particulièrement grand.

Des recherches récentes, menées par une revue indépendante sur la résistance antimicrobienne que je dirige, ont modélisé l'impact probable du phénomène sur l'économie mondiale. Elles suggèrent que si nous ne trouvons pas une solution au problème de la résistance aux antimicrobiens, le problème va s'aggraver.

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