The challenge is a complex one.
I don't know how much you spend on your insurance, but the battle we're all dealing with on AMR is primarily one of insurance, because we know there has been a growth of resistance over time that is going unabated. What we're looking to do is try to stem that tide and invest for cost avoidance, I will say, because the expenditures of dealing with antibiotic resistance are going to be much greater down the road than they are today, especially if we don't do anything.
If we just estimate and we don't have reliable data.... Let's just say we're using $1 billion of antibiotics a year. Our best estimates are that 50% of antibiotics are unnecessary. Those are the best reliable estimates, somewhere between 30% and 50%. Even if you reduce it by 30%, we're talking about a $300-million savings. To be honest, $100 million is a relatively insignificant investment. That's only antibiotic costs. That has nothing to do with all the other investments or risks.
One of the hospitals I work in deals with cancer patients. Often, we now only have one antibiotic with which to treat them. We have patients with transplants and we're giving them novel antibiotics, or ones we really have no experience with, because we have no other choices for them. If we pass that stage, and often we do, we have no other choice.
You may be familiar with the case this past year where doctors at Toronto General had to remove a patient's lungs because there was no antibiotic solution for her. They had to take out the lungs, wait, put her on some other support until lungs were available, and then give her new hope for life.
On that reality that people are thinking about down the road, we're there today. This is not something that Canadians can afford to delay investing in. This committee and the government need to take action now to invest in this.