Data Blog

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The Canadian Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System’s (CARSS) Data Blog on Antimicrobial Use in Humans, Canada Published: ()

An increasing number of Canadians are being exposed to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, infections of which are associated with increased illness, death and rising healthcare costs. The inappropriate use of antibiotics (including overuse and unnecessary use) is one of the key drivers of antibiotic resistance.

90% of Antimicrobial Doses

90% of Antimicrobial Doses

In 2018, 90% of antibiotic doses were dispensed by retail pharmacies, compared to the remaining 10% purchased by hospitals.

24+ Million Prescriptions

24+ Million Prescriptions

Over 24 million prescriptions were dispensed by retail pharmacies in 2018.

1 in 4 Canadians

1 in 4 Canadians

One-in-four Canadians reported taking oral antibiotics in 2018.

Dive into the Data

This online tool presents data on the estimated quantity of antibiotics dispensed by retail pharmacies between 2014 and 2018. The term Defined Daily Dose refers to the assumed average maintenance dose per day for an antibiotic used for its main indication in adults, as defined by the World Health Organization. Defined Daily Doses per 1,000 inhabitants refers to the estimated number of Defined Daily Doses consumed by 1,000 inhabitants in a year.

Use the interactive tool below to explore how the quantity of antibiotics dispensed by retail pharmacies has changed over time.

Defined Daily Doses per 1,000 inhabitants in 2018

Data Tables


Statistics were generated through the integration of data sourced from the Public Health Agency of Canada, IQVIA, Indigenous Services Canada, Statistics Canada, and the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Drug Statistics Methodology 2019 ACT and DDD Index.