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EU launches action to tackle antimicrobial resistance

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EU launches action to tackle antimicrobial resistance


(BRUSSELS) - The European Commission launched Thursday a new EU action plan to tackle antimicrobial resistance - a growing threat responsible for 25,000 deaths and a loss of EUR 1.5 billion in the EU every year.

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is the ability of micro-organisms to resist antimicrobial treatments, especially antibiotics. AMR is a natural phenomenon but an accumulation of factors, including excessive and inappropriate use of antimicrobial medicines on humans and animals and poor hygiene or infection control practices, transformed AMR into a serious threat to public health worldwide.

Launching the plan, Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis. said: "By promoting prudent use of antimicrobials in people and animals, consolidating surveillance, improving data collection and boosting research, I aim to make the EU a best practice region worthy of shaping the global agenda on AMR in this increasingly interconnected world."

A Eurobarometer survey in June 2016 found that knowledge about AMR remains low across the EU, and that there was a reported 6% decrease in consumption in the last years.

The plan, underpinned by the One Health approach that addresses resistance in both humans and animals, includes guidelines to promote the prudent use of antimicrobials in people. The guidelines target all actors – doctors, nurses, pharmacists, hospital administrators and others who play a role in antimicrobial use. They complement infection prevention and control guidelines which may exist at national level.

In addition, the plan foresees more than 75 actions built on three main pillars:

Pillar 1: Making the EU a best-practice region

Making the EU a best-practice region will require better evidence, better coordination and surveillance, as well as better control measures. This will support Member States to establish, implement and monitor their national One-Health Action Plans on AMR in line with the commitment they made at the 2015 World Health Assembly. Examples of Commission support include providing evidence-based data with the support of our agencies, updating EU implementing legislation on monitoring and reporting AMR in animals, food and humans, enabling mutual learning, exchange of innovative ideas and consensus building, and co-fund activities in Member States to tackle AMR. The action plan will be extended to include environmental aspects as one of the major contributors to the development and spread of AMR.

Pillar 2: Boosting research, development and innovation

Actions under this pillar aim to boost research and further incentivise innovation, provide valuable input for science-based policies and legal measures to combat AMR and address knowledge gaps such as the role of AMR in the environment. The Commission will work in partnerships with Member States and industry, including small and medium enterprises, to address AMR in bacteria, fungi and parasites. Special attention will be given to the WHO priority list of pathogens as well as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, malaria and neglected infectious diseases.

Funding and partnership programmes will focus on improving knowledge on effective infection control and surveillance including new diagnostics, and developing new therapeutics and preventive vaccines. Actions within these priority areas will help to improve public health and deliver economic and societal benefits throughout Europe and beyond.

Pillar 3: Shaping the global agenda

Whereas areas of action have been agreed upon internationally, the EU will work towards reinforcing engagement and collaboration with multilateral organisations, and intensifying cooperation with the most affected developing countries.As one of the largest markets for agricultural products, the EU can play a major role by promoting its standards and measures for addressing AMR with its trade partners. In the research arena, the EU will build upon its successful large-scale international initiatives, such as the European and Developing Clinical Trial Partnership and the Joint Programme Initiative, and further develop a stronger and interconnected AMR research landscape with global outreach.

The new action plan, which builds on the first AMR Action Plan (2011-2016), draws on recommendations of an independent external evaluation and views of stakeholders gathered through a public consultation.


More information on the new EU One Health Action Plan against Antimicrobial Resistance

More information on Antimicrobial Resistance

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