Global increases in antibiotic consumption: a concerning trend for WHO targets

  04 January 2021

Worldwide, antimicrobial resistance is increasing at an alarming rate. In 2019, WHO listed antimicrobial resistance as one of the top ten threats to global health. A major driver of antimicrobial resistance is antibiotic overuse and misuse. Efforts to reduce inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics have led to strong general commitments; however, substantial variability in prescribing is present across health systems. Eili Klein and colleagues did a systematic evaluation of antibiotic consumption according to the WHO AWaRe Classification Database across 76 countries from 2000 to 2015. This study provides valuable insight into antibiotic prescribing trends at a global level. Antibiotics were classified as Access (first-line or second-line therapies), Watch (for use only with specific indications due to higher resistance potentials), or Reserve (for use as a last resort). Over this 15-year study period, overall use per capita increased by 26·2% in Access antibiotics and 90·9% in Watch antibiotics.

Author(s): Scott C Roberts Teresa R Zembower
Effective Surveillance  


Unrestricted financial support by:


Antimicrobial Resistance Fighter Coalition

Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre


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