Healthcare News & Insights

Antibiotic resistant infections cost $20B per year

Doctors who over-prescribe antibiotics are exacting a heavy toll on the bottom line — and overall patient care.

The latest research shows antibiotic-resistant infections (ARIs) cost the U.S. about $20 billion dollars annually — roughly $19k to $29k per patient. ARIs also nearly doubled the average hospital stays of affected patients, from 6.4 days to nearly 13 days. Worst of all: Patients with ARIs had a mortality rate twice as high as other patients.

That data comes from “Hospital and Societal Costs of Antimicrobial Resistant Infections in Chicago Teaching Hospital: Implications for Antibiotic Stewardship,” a study from the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics (APUA) in Boston. The results have been published by Clinical Infectious Diseases.

While the numbers may seem shocking, the nature of the problem is no surprise. Many patients clamor for more antibiotic prescriptions, whether they’re needed or not — and too many health care providers feel it’s easier and/or safer to prescribe antibiotics even when it’s not clear they’re needed.

Hospitals in particular are a breeding ground for ARIs as well as a major cause of their spread through the population.

Share your thoughts in the comments on the best way to stem the spread of ARIs.

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