Drug-resistant infections persist across Europe: Commission to draft new action plan

A five-year-old plan action plan on antimicrobial resistance provided political stimulus across member states, but has done little to curtail the problem

25,000 patients die each year from drug-resistant infections
25,000 patients die each year from drug-resistant infections

An evaluation of the 2011 action plan by the European Union on antimicrobial resistance has shown that the action was not enough to curtail a challenge that costs the EU €1.5 billion worth of healthcare and productivity losses, every year.

Two health interest groups, the European Public Health Alliance and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Association have commented that the State of the European Union speech did not give enough attention to Europe’s role in protecting and improving Europeans’ health.

In a question raised in the European Parliament, Labour MEP Miriam Dalli asked the Commission how the EU planned on addressing the challenge.

According to the World Health Organisation, AMR threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi.

It is an increasingly serious threat to global public health that requires action across all government sectors and society: “Without effective antibiotics, the success of major surgery and cancer chemotherapy would be compromised.”

Each year, drug resistant infections result in an estimated 25,000 patients deaths across the member states. The evidence suggests that these costs will increase exponentially in the absence of decisive corrective actions.

The Council conclusions, adopted in June 2016 under the Dutch Presidency, call for a reinforced EU strategy against AMR and a new and comprehensive EU Action Plan on AMR based on the One-Health approach. At global level, AMR is also high on the political agenda within G7, G20 and the United Nations (UN).

“The meeting on AMR held at the UN General Assembly on 21 September 2016 marked an important milestone for high-level global political commitment against AMR. The evaluation of the current Action Plan against AMR adopted in 2011, has shown that this Plan provided the political stimulus for concrete actions within Member States, strengthened international cooperation and a framework to guide and coordinate activities on AMR at international level,” the European Commission informed Dalli.

“However, this evaluation published on 24 October 2016, has also shown that the AMR problem is persisting and continued action is needed to tackle it. Therefore the Commission will prepare the new AMR Action plan in the first half of 2017 in order to reinforce the One-Health approach and make the EU a ‘best-practice’ region on AMR, to give a stronger push to innovation and research for the development of rapid diagnostic tests and alternatives to antimicrobials, and to actively contribute to broader actions aimed at tackling AMR at global level.”

More in Health