Antimicrobial stewardship

Protecting the public through safe prescribing

At its core, the College drug programs protects the public by ensuring safe prescribing. It endeavours to support physicians in prescribing safely throughout their careers.

While traditional efforts in safe prescribing have focused on psychoactive medication such as opioids and sedatives, the College recognizes that there is potential harm that can come to patients through the prescribing of many different classes of medication.

Antimicrobial resistance is on the rise nationally and globally

There are dangers and harms that can come of inappropriate prescribing. It is a major concern at all levels of health care, globally and nationally.

World-wide level

According to the World Health Organization, AMR is among the top 10 global public health threats. Globally, AMR is increasing, and without significant changes to the way antibiotics are used, the costs of AMR to patients and the public will be staggering.

Already, 30-50% of surgical site infections and chemotherapy-associated infections are resistant to routine prophylactic agents.

Potential burden of antibiotic resistance on surgery and cancer chemotherapy antibiotic prophylaxis in the USA: a literature review and modelling study. Teillant A, Gandra S, Barter D, Morgan DJ, Laxminarayan R. Lancet Infect Dis (2015)

On a global scale, the Review on AMR estimates up to 10 million deaths annually around the world by 2050.

Canada-wide level

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a key public health threat that is on the rise in Canada.

Recent research has estimated that 26% of infections in Canada are resistant to first-line drugs. Without action, this rate is predicted to reach 40% by 2050.

About 5,400 deaths in Canada are due to AMR each year, costing the Canadian healthcare system about $1.4 billion, and reducing GDP by $2 billion

When Antibiotics Fail, Council of Canadian Academies (2019)

Province level

Extrapolating from global and national data, an estimated 660 British Columbians die every year as a direct result of having antibiotic resistant bacterial infections

Global burden of bacterial antimicrobial resistance in 2019: a systematic analysis. Antimicrobial Resistance Collaborators. Lancet (2022)

Judicious use of antimicrobials can help slow the spread of resistance

Safe prescribing of all medications, including antimicrobial stewardship, is considered a core competency of all College registrants.

Registrants are expected to be aware of the importance of antimicrobial stewardship and to incorporate best practices into their work, where applicable.

Resources to support appropriate antibiotic prescribing

Request a personalized report of your prescribing practice