European Commission - Press release
Action Plan against antimicrobial resistance: Commission unveils 12 concrete actions for the next five years
Brussels, 17 November 2011 – With about 25,000 patients dying per year in the EU from infections caused by drug resistant bacteria and related costs of over 1.5 billion euros in healthcare expenses and productivity losses 1 , antimicrobial resistance is a growing health problem in the EU. Today, on the eve of European Antibiotic Awareness Day, the European Commission has tabled a comprehensive Action Plan on Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) which unveils12 concrete actions to be implemented in close cooperation with the Member States.
European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, 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 twelve concrete actions for the next five years, that we present today, could help limit the spread of anti-microbial resistance and help develop new anti-microbial treatment. Their success requires joined efforts from the EU, the Member States, healthcare professionals, industry, farmers and many others ".
European Commissioner for Research and Innovation, Máire Geoghegan Quinn, added: "Finding the next generation of antibiotics is crucial if we are to stay ahead of the curve in the face of bacteria and other pathogens which are resistant to drugs. Investment in research and innovation will mean the best possible care for patients, and the Commission is working with industry and EU Member States to make this a priority. This commitment will continue under Horizon 2020, our future funding programme for research and innovation".
EU-wide data published today by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on antibiotic resistance shows that resistance to last-line antibiotics is increasing in Europe. For example, resistance to pathogens which frequently cause pneumonia and urinary tract infections in hospitals is increasing across the EU and is now established in several countries.
The Action Plan covers seven areas, where measures are most necessary:
The proposal also sets out 12 concrete actions to:
Antimicrobials comprise antibiotics, which are essential medicines for humans and animals, and can also be used as disinfectants, antiseptics and other hygiene products. They have substantially decreased the threat of infectious diseases. Antibiotics are an indispensible tool in medicine and are used in common procedures such as transplantation and chemotherapy.
However, over the years bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics. This resistance has manifested itself in hospital-acquired infections, respiratory tract infections, meningitis, diarrhoeal diseases and sexually transmitted infections. Resistant bacteria can be transferred from animals to humans via the food chain or through direct contact.
Since the 1990s, when AMR was recognised as a serious threat to public health, the Commission has launched various initiatives and actions across sectors, i.e. human and veterinary medicine, food and feed and scientific research. The Action Plan announced today is the latest in a series of measures taken by the Commission to tackle AMR.
For more information please visit:
Commissioner Dalli's website:
Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn's website:
ECDC/EMEA Joint Technical Report "The bacterial challenge: time to react". Estimates based on bacteria most frequently isolated from blood cultures in Europe