Antimicrobials in Canada, by the Numbers

A Canadian Perspective

Antimicrobial Resistance Infographic
Antimicrobial Resistance Infographic

A Canadian Perspective

The numbers don’t lie: antimicrobial misuse in Canada is a pervasive and growing problem. With approximately 23.8 million antibiotic prescriptions written annually, it is estimated that as much as 50% of antimicrobial use is inappropriate. Misuse of antibiotics can lead to antimicrobial resistant strains of bacteria (superbugs) that can be very difficult and expensive to treat.

At a financial cost of $1 billion for complications associated with antimicrobial resistance, and the human toll of 2,000 lives per year in Canada, the proper use of antimicrobial medications must be emphasized in every medical school, doctor’s office and healthcare facility in the country.

Read more:

Why Antibiotics are not the Answer to your Cold or Flu

The Importance of Using Antibiotics Correctly and Completing the Prescribed Dose

Here, There, and Everywhere: How Antibiotic Resistance is Now the Norm

Canada Putting Up No Fight Against Antimicrobial Resistance




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Alvin Szeto
Alvin Szeto is a medical student from the University of Toronto. He is interested in using technology and digital media to promote healthcare initiatives, as well as improve medical education for both patients and students. He is a founding member of the Students for Antimicrobial Stewardship Society, a national interprofessional student collaborative responsible for educating and empowering future generations of healthcare providers to promote the judicious use of antimicrobials. He holds a Master of Science (MSc) from Queen's University in Pathology and Molecular Medicine."
Students for Antimicrobial Stewardship Society
Students for Antimicrobial Stewardship Society (SASS) is a student-led national organization dedicated to raising awareness of antimicrobial stewardship and resistance across Canada. Founded by medical students, we support a multidisciplinary approach to stewardship through collaboration with students from health professional programs including Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Veterinary Medicine. We represent students regarding antimicrobial stewardship at the national and international level, interfacing with industry, medical organizations, educational institutions, and governments.


  1. Nice poster and I applaud your efforts to educate the masses with modern media.

    I work in antimicrobial stewardship in Calgary and have a good background on the subject. From this I know that “50% is inappropriate” is often quoted (so no fault to you) but it is fair to say that is hyperbole. Unfortunately, literature continues to be published with this. More credible writing on this eg. the CDC “Core Elements of Hospital Antibiotic Stewardship Programs (2015) ” makes an effort to correct this by quoting 20-50% inappropriate or unnecessary.
    I know that yours is more eye catching but the thing is, if we exaggerate then our credibility will be suspect and ultimately undermine our own efforts.
    Best regards & good luck in future with this project.

  2. That’s a great point Bruce. I went through their references, and you’re right about the range. Going through the references section of those references, we can find evidence for all of the values. This is definitely something that we need to keep in mind in the future.