News 939 views last update:6 Aug 2012

EU 12-point antibiotic action plan released

Today is European Antimicrobial Awareness Day and the European Commission yesterday published a 12-point five-year action plan on antimicrobial resistance.

Highlighting the seriousness of the problem, the Commission said about 25,000 patients were dying each year in the EU from infections caused by drug resistant bacteria, adding €1.5 billion to healthcare costs.
The 12-point action plan reflects the growing belief that high usage of antibiotics in farming, primarily the pig, poultry and dairy sectors, is contributing significantly to the problem.
Pressure is building to tackle the problem. The European Parliament recently called for a ban on the prophylactic (pre-emptive) use of antibiotics for livestock to reduce the risk of resistance being transferred between animals and humans.
The 12-point Commission action plan promises to ‘strengthen EU law on veterinary medicines and on medicated feed’ and to bring in new recommendations for ‘prudent use’ of antimicrobials in veterinary medicine.
European Health Commissioner John Dalli said: “We need to take swift and determined action if we do not want to lose antimicrobial medicines as essential treatment against bacterial infections in both humans and animals.”
The Commission Action Plan on Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) sets out 12 actions to be implemented in close cooperation with member states. 
  1. Improve awareness raising on the appropriate use of antimicrobials
  2. Strengthen EU law on veterinary medicines and on medicated feed
  3. Introduce recommendations for prudent use of antimicrobials in veterinary medicine, including follow-up reports
  4. Strengthen infection prevention and control in hospitals, clinics, etc.
  5. Introduce legal tools to tighten prevention and control of infections in animals in the new EU Animal Health Law
  6. Promote unprecedented collaboration to bring new antimicrobials to patients
  7. Promote efforts to analyse the need for new antibiotics in veterinary medicine
  8. Develop and/or strengthen multilateral and bilateral commitments for the prevention and control of AMR
  9. Strengthen surveillance systems on AMR and antimicrobial consumption in human medicines
  10. Strengthen surveillance systems on AMR and antimicrobial consumption in  animal medicines
  11. Reinforce and co-ordinate research
  12. Improve communication on AMR to the public

Dick Ziggers

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