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InfoGraphic: Superbugs 'pose higher risk than cancer'

An extra 10 million people could die every year by 2050 unless sweeping global changes are agreed to tackle increasing resistance to antibiotics.

The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, commissioned by the British government, warns that the financial cost to economies of drug resistance will add up to $100 trillion by the mid-point of the century.

Doctors should be forced to perform diagnostic tests on patients before prescribing antibiotics which are currently being dished out "like sweets",   according to a major review of antibiotic resistance.

Experts have warned that resistance to the drugs that are used to fight infections could cause a bigger threat to mankind than cancer.

Tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is " absolutely essential ", said Lord Jim O'Neill as he published a global action plan to prevent drug-resistant infections and defeat the rising threat of so-called superbugs.

One of his proposals suggests that big pharmaceutical companies should "play or pay" - meaning they either join the search to hunt for new antibiotics or be forced to pay a fine. But those who do and find successful new treatments should be rewarded handsomely.

Another calls for better use of diagnostic tools to prevent patients being given antibiotics unnecessarily.

Health leaders from around the world have raised serious concerns about the growing resistanc e to a ntimicrobial drugs. These are the drugs which destroy harmful microbes. Antibiotics are the best known of these drugs, but there are others, such as antivirals, antimalarial drugs and antifungals.

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