Yesterday, 26th of April, the European Commission made an announcement of a revision of the current pharmaceutical legislation, with several goals and challenges to be addressed, as we told you in this post. This revision is a very ambitious one, the biggest in 20 years, and seeks to “make medicines more available, accessible and affordable” as well as to boost the European pharmaceutical industry. We are glad to see that the same day a proposal for a specific recommendation to fight AMR was announced as well.
As you know, Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a huge problem worldwide, which consists on some microorganisms becoming immune to antibiotics. It is an effect that occurs naturally, but the misuse and overuse of antibiotics accelerates it. Antibiotics are really useful and necessary medicines, when taken in the right doses and timing and supervised by a medical team, but they can become less effective or totally ineffective with the rise of AMR. This threaten currently causes circa 35.000 deaths every year in the EU.
This problem leaves people or animals who take antibiotics unprotected from some diseases, but it is also an economic and health issue: “AMR has a huge economic impact on healthcare systems as it leads to more complex treatments, higher hospital admission rates and extended stays. Food security and food safety are also threatened since AMR affects animal health and food production”, claims the EC in the recommendation.
Before the current recommendation proposed by the EC, many initiatives have been put in motion during the last years at a regional, national and international scale involving several fields. Some good examples are the Strategic Approach to Pharmaceuticals in the Environment, the Farm to Fork Strategy and the Zero Pollution Action Plan or the Pharmaceutical Strategy, among many others.
In 2022, the Commission together with the Member States declared AMR as one of the top three priority health threats in the European Union, and that same year some initiatives were launched like the EU4Health or the creation of the Commission’s Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA). “These new rules create a reinforced legal and financial framework to improve EU health security and capacity in the areas of prevention, preparedness, surveillance, risk assessment, early warning and response, including on AMR”, the European Commission says.
The most recent action taken by the EC to tackle AMR has been a proposal for a Council Recommendation to take specific measures to combat this problem. The objectives of this proposal for a Council Recommendation are to:
– strengthen One Health national action plans on AMR;
– reinforce surveillance and monitoring of AMR and AMC;
– strengthen infection prevention and control;
– strengthen antimicrobial stewardship and prudent use of antimicrobials;
– recommend targets for AMR and antimicrobial consumption in human health;
– improve awareness, education and training;
– foster research & development, and incentives for innovation and access to antimicrobials and other AMR medical countermeasures;
– increase cooperation
– enhance global actions
After implementing this recommendation, all results will be assessed through a developed monitoring framework and a report will be made after 4 years since its adoption. This is a relevant measure to be taken by the EC, as AMR is a threat which can affect human health, animal health and the environment and has consequences worldwide. It is considered to be a One Health issue, and “cannot be tackled by one sector independently or by individual countries alone. Tackling AMR requires a high level of collaboration across sectors and between countries, including at global level”, concludes the European Commission.
You can download the official document with all the information released by the European Commission here.