The European Parliament Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) has addressed the issue of ensuring the long-term effectiveness of antibiotics. A draft report on a European One Health Action Plan against Antimicrobial Resistance calls for new measures to be put in place. The European Parliament Committees take the initiative to prepare a report whenever they consider a topic to be important and they want to start a political discussion.
Action package against drug resistance
Essentially, the report addresses activities passed by the EU Commission as part of a new Action Plan to fight antimicrobial resistance in June 2017. The aim of these activities is to establish the EU as a best practice region; to strengthen research, development and innovation with regard to antimicrobial resistance; and to shape the global cooperation needed for this. The Action Plan is based on the One Health principle, which not only takes into consideration human and animal health, but also environmental aspects.
What are MEPs calling for?
Among other things, monitoring of antimicrobial resistance should be coordinated across countries and health professionals should receive additional training. In addition, the draft report calls for a ban on doctors or veterinarians selling the antibiotics they prescribe. The report also focuses on the decisions doctors make regarding treatment. Rapid diagnostic tests can be used to determine whether there is actually a bacterial infection and if it is necessary to use antibiotics.
Causes of antimicrobial resistance
According to the report, if action is not taken soon, we risk the return of a ‘pre-antibiotics/penicillin’ age. The problem of physical resistance in humans and animals is the associated inefficiency of medicines. Apart from a lack of research into alternatives, the emergence of antimicrobial resistance has been substantially accelerated by the over-use of antibiotics and the improper disposal of unused medicines. Another cause is environmental pollution from the production of antibiotics.