A huge number of people could die over the next four decades as a result of diseases resistant to antibiotics.
And your family doctor's desire to keep you from going to a physician at a retail clinic—at least if you live in a ritzy area of town—could be making things worse.
The possibility of that intriguing connection is suggested by two separate studies related to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance throughout the world.
The problem, linked to the overuse of antibiotics and a quarter-century drought of new antibiotic development, recently led President Barack Obama to call for doubling U.S. spending on combating resistance to the commonly prescribed medications to more than $1.2 billion.
One new study highlights the potentially massive human and economic toll from the continued spread of diseases that don't respond to antibiotics.
That analysis by the RAND Corporation, which looked at seven scenarios, estimates that "the world population by 2050 will be between 11 million and 444 million lower than it would have been otherwise in the absence of" antimicrobial resistance "if the problem is not tackled."
"The lower bound is a result of a scenarios where resistance rates have been successfully kept at a relatively low rate, while the upper bound reflects a scenario for a world with no effective antimicrobial drugs," according to RAND Europe, which was commissioned to study the issue by the Independent Review of Antimicrobial Resistance.
And the world economy would see a cumulative loss of $2.1 trillion to $124.5 trillion by the year 2050 due to deaths and prolonged periods of sickness affecting labor efficiency, according to the scenarios analyzed by RAND. "We estimate that by 2050 the world economy would be smaller by between 0.06 percent and 3.1 percent again depending on the scenario."