The fight goes on
The Council paves the way for Europe to become the leading region in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.
UM – 07/2019
resistance (AMR) is one of the major cross-border health threats requiring
joint action in the EU. On 14 June this year,
the Council of the European Union (EU) outlined the steps it considers
necessary to make the EU a best-practice region in the fight against AMR.
is based on the current European One Health Action Plan against Antimicrobial
Resistance adopted by the European Commission on 29 June 2017. Unlike its
predecessor from 2011 to 2016, the One Health Action Plan targets not only
antibiotic resistance but also antivirals, antifungals and antiprotozoals in
humans, animals and the environment (see article July 2017).
Urgent action needed
Council is still very concerned. There are 33,000 deaths a year in the European
Union as a result of infections resistant to antibiotics. According to
estimates by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD),
AMR could cost EUR 1.1 billion per year if not countered effectively and AMR
rates increase in line with OECD forecasts. An increase in the number of deaths
would then be inevitable. In addition, 75% of cases of diseases from infections
with resistant pathogens are directly related to healthcare-associated
infections. In addition to the serious consequences for human and animal
health, this also has a negative impact on the environment, food production and
Council specifically points to the need for greater cooperation between Member
States, the Commission and the pharmaceutical industry. The market failure in
antibiotic development is of great concern. There is a need for EU and global
coordination and cooperation on research programmes and incentives. Investment
in public health interventions could significantly reduce the burden on
New impetus needed
role of vaccination should not be underestimated, which is why research and
development of new vaccines for pathogens associated with antibiotic resistance
must be supported. The success of the global fight against AMR depends to a
large extent on a new impetus from cooperation between EU institutions and Member
States in international bodies, but also regional and bilateral collaboration.
Council calls on the Commission to continue to support Member States in the
implementation of multi-sectoral National Action Plans and national strategies
and to increase the funding allocated to them. Member States are encouraged to
consider further regulatory measures, where appropriate, to further restrict
over-the-counter sale of antimicrobials.