Background Antibiotics have led to considerable increases in life expectancy. However, over time, antimicrobial resistance has accelerated and is now a significant global public health concern. Understanding societal preferences for the use of antibiotics as well as eliciting the willingness to pay for future research is crucial.Objective To investigate preferences for different strategies to optimize antibiotic use and to understand the willingness to pay for future research in antimicrobial resistance and antimicrobial drug development.Methods A discrete-choice experiment was administered to a sample of the UK general population. Respondents were asked to make nine choices, each offering three options-two hypothetical "doctor and antibiotics" and one "no doctor-no antibiotics"-defined by five attributes: treatment, days needed to recover, risk of bacterial infection that needs antibiotics, risk of common side effects, and risk of antimicrobial resistance by 2050. Data were analyzed using random parameters logit models. A double-bounded contingent valuation was also included in the survey to explore the willingness to pay for policies to contain antimicrobial resistance.Results Among the 2579 respondents who completed the survey, 1151 always selected "no doctor-no antibiotics" and 57 never varied their choices; therefore, 1371 responses were used in the analysis. Risk of antimicrobial resistance by 2050 was the most important attribute and the "treatment" was the least important attribute, although this was sensitive to a higher risk of bacterial infection. The aggregate annual willingness to pay for containing antimicrobial resistance was approximately 8.35 pound billion (similar to 5- pound 10 pound billion).Conclusions The antimicrobial resistance risk is relevant and important to the general public. The high willingness to pay suggests that large investments in policies or interventions to combat antimicrobial resistance are justified.
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