Protecting a Global Public Good

As effective antimicrobial treatment is part of the global “commons,” containment of AMR is a global public good. All countries can enjoy the benefits of successful AMR containment. Conversely, all countries will be harmed if AMR is not kept in check. The status of AMR containment as a global public good underscores the critical responsibility of public authorities, especially national governments, in protecting this good.

This responsibility is all the more crucial, because victory over AMR is never final, since pathogens constantly evolve, and they eventually develop resistance to any medication we discover. However, with wise policies and careful stewardship, the life-saving power of antimicrobials can be greatly extended. The inherent fragility of this public good makes it even more important to defend it well. To date, action on AMR has been dangerously inadequate. Policy and financing choices by governments and development partners have resulted in weak public-health systems across broad regions of the world, enabling the undetected spread of pathogens, including drug-resistant strains.