Published: Sat, January 26, 2019
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

What is antimicrobial resistance and how can it be…

What is antimicrobial resistance and how can it be…

The government predicts this toll could rise to 10 million by 2050, and its plan includes a target to reduce the use of antibiotics in humans by 15% over the next five years and to "contain and control AMR" by 2040.

Health contracts expert Louise Fullwood of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said there is value in utilising the resources at high street pharmacies in the delivery of primary care to ease the burdens on doctors, and welcomed the plans to involve pharmacists in the battle against AMR. We're going to cut antibiotic use by a further 15% within 5 years by only using antibiotics when absolutely necessary.

Only three countries in WHO's African region and seven countries in its Americas region have limited the use of antimicrobials in animals, moves which World Health Organization calls "an important step to reduce the emergence of antimicrobial resistance". "In the United Kingdom, although good data on overall antibiotic use is now available for many livestock sectors, it can be improved in others", the five-year report states.

Work to introduce a new payment model will be underway within six months, said Hancock, adding that this will encourage companies to invest in the "estimated £1 billion needed to develop a new drug".

Professor Fiona Watt, Executive Chair of the MRC, which leads UKRI's AMR Cross-Council Initiative, said: "Antimicrobial resistance arises from a complex interplay between biological, economic, cultural, environmental, and technical factors".

"Antimicrobial resistance is as big a danger to humanity and as big a danger as climate change or warfare".

"We need to get to a stage where antibiotics are not seen by patients as a "catch all" for every illness, but rather as a serious drug option, usually reserved for when all other treatment options have either failed or been deemed inappropriate".

Prime Minister Theresa May added: "The increase in antibiotic resistance is a threat we can not afford to ignore". Where treatable infections become untreatable, where routine surgery like a hip operation becomes too risky to carry out, and where every wound is potentially life-threatening.

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I am proud of the work the United Kingdom has done to secure antimicrobial resistance on the global agenda.

Also, antibiotics have been used on livestock to promote growth and protect health but this has driven up bacterial resistance.

CARB-X Executive Director Kevin Outterson, JD, says the model demonstrates "serious global leadership" by the United Kingdom government, which has been working with the pharmaceutical industry over the last 2 years to develop the idea.

"If you just buy the drugs in a direct way from the drug companies, the commercial incentives are to keep pumping out the old antibiotics", Hancock said.

Since 2014, the United Kingdom has cut the amount of antibiotics it uses by more than 7 percent and sales of antibiotics for use in food-producing animals have dropped by 40 percent. Farmers will reduce antibiotic use in animals by 25% between 2016 and 2020, with objectives to be refreshed by 2021. NOAH, a group which represents the United Kingdom animal health industry, said the plans will ensure "real progress" is made.

What are antibiotics used to treat?

Dr Chris Doherty, managing director of Alderley Park in Cheshire, the UK's largest single site bio campus, which features a number of businesses working on new antibiotics and diagnostics, said: "It's very welcome news that the market failure in antibiotic drug development is being addressed by the new government strategy".

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