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European Commission - Statement

Statement of Commissioner Andriukaitis on the occasion of European Antibiotic Awareness Day

Brussels, 17 November 2015

Stepping up the fight against antimicrobial resistance.

On the occasion of the 8th European Antibiotic Awareness Day, which takes place every year on 18 November, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, said: "Infections by bacteria resistant to antibiotics kill 25,000 people every year in Europe alone and cause 1.5 billion euros in healthcare and productivity losses. People are suffering, people are dying and we are unable to cure them because some antibiotics don’t work anymore. This challenge calls for immediate action at all levels. Antimicrobial resistance has long been a priority for the Commission. Our “One Health" approach involves all aspects of antimicrobial resistance: human and animal health, food and feed safety, environment, research and innovation and international cooperation. I have met with G7 Health Ministers, with high-level representatives of the United States and China in the past few weeks to boost our co-operation on antimicrobial resistance, and I am working closely with Member States and with our international partners to find a global solution to this global problem."

The latest results published by ECDC show that the situation continues to worsen for most bacteria and antibiotics under surveillance. In at least 3 countries (Italy, Greece and Malta) the resistance to last-line antibiotics has become an endemic problem meaning that their hospitals are unable to treat patients infected with resistant bacteria. For the first time, data show a significant decrease in antibiotic consumption in the community in five European countries (Denmark, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden), even if antibiotic consumption in the hospital sector is still increasing.



Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is resistance of a microorganism to an antimicrobial medicine to which it was originally sensitive. AMR occurs naturally but the phenomenon is hugely increased by excessive and inappropriate use of antimicrobial medicines and poor infection control practices in animals and humans.

European Antibiotic Awareness Day is a European health initiative coordinated by ECDC which aims to provide a platform and support for national campaigns on the prudent use of antibiotics. Each year across Europe, the European Antibiotic Awareness Day is marked by national campaigns on the prudent use of antibiotics during the week of 18 November.


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