The "crisis summit" discussed the future supply of effective antibioticsIntro

UM – 05/2022

At their meeting in Berlin on May 19 and 20, the health ministers from the G7 countries emphasised the need to work together to ensure that stronger action will be taken against antibiotic resistance. Other topics included the difficult medical care situation in Ukraine caused by the war, overcoming the Covid-19 pandemic as well as climate-neutral healthcare systems; read more about this in the Communiqué from May 20.

WHO will have a crucial role here

According to the health ministers, the WHO (World Health Organisation) will have decisive global health coordination, initiative and leadership functions. It will have to be better and more reliably financed in order to be able to undertake these tasks. Therefore WHO’s share of the budget, which is covered by compulsory contributions from members, is expected to be increased by 2030/2031.

A pact for pandemic readiness

The G7 meeting stressed that the "pandemic readiness pact" is now a key policy instrument. Under this instrument the world's seven leading industrialised countries have committed themselves to strengthening how they develop their integrated, interoperable and interdisciplinary and cross-sector monitoring capabilities. As part of the "one health approach”, the aim is to be ready to counter the dangers of future health risks with regard to humans, animals, the environment and the climate.

The focus is not only on Covid-19 but also on other pathogens with pandemic or epidemic potentials as well as the antibiotic resistance issue. This resistance has reached a worrying level as a result of its careless and economically-driven use in veterinary medicine as well as in human medicine. This is now a "silent pandemic".

Subsequent high social and economic costs

According to the G7, antibiotic resistance is now claiming more than one million lives globally every year. The European Commission has confirmed that: antimicrobial resistance is responsible for 33,000 deaths per year within the EU and the annual costs to the healthcare systems are around 1.1 billion euros. Ineffective or unavailable antibiotic treatments often lead to blood poisoning (sepsis). The G7 is committed to focusing on promoting the research and development of new antibiotics. Appropriate use of antibiotics will also be improved. national targets regarding this are to be determined by the end of 2023. The early detection, diagnosis and treatment of sepsis needs to be strengthened in particular.

Promoting appropriate use of antibiotics

The German Social Insurance Representation (DSV) supports this policy. DSV has urged the European Commission to pay special attention to the veterinary sector through an exploratory discussion about implementing more comprehensive measures to combat antimicrobial resistance. Antibiotic use remains critically high here. Infection prevention must also be given a higher priority in human medicine. Screening for resistant germs, hygiene measures in health and care facilities, staff and patient training, etc., could prevent infections and the incorrect use of antibiotics at a comparatively low cost (feedback from DSV see here).