WHO News Release: New report calls for urgent action to avert antimicrobial resistance crisis

29 April, 2019

Extracts and a comment from me below. Read online here: https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/29-04-2019-new-report-calls-for-urg...

WHO: New report calls for urgent action to avert antimicrobial resistance crisis

International organizations unite on critical recommendations to combat drug-resistant infections and prevent staggering number of deaths each year

29 April 2019 Joint News Release New York

UN, international agencies and experts today released a groundbreaking report demanding immediate, coordinated and ambitious action to avert a potentially disastrous drug-resistance crisis.

If no action is taken - warns the UN Ad hoc Interagency Coordinating Group on Antimicrobial Resistance who released the report – drug-resistant diseases could cause 10 million deaths each year by 2050 and damage to the economy as catastrophic as the 2008-2009 global financial crisis. By 2030, antimicrobial resistance could force up to 24 million people into extreme poverty.

Currently, at least 700,000 people die each year due to drug-resistant diseases, including 230,000 people who die from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. More and more common diseases, including respiratory tract infections, sexually transmitted infections and urinary tract infections, are untreatable; lifesaving medical procedures are becoming much riskier, and our food systems are increasingly precarious.

The world is already feeling the economic and health consequences as crucial medicines become ineffective. Without investment from countries in all income brackets, future generations will face the disastrous impacts of uncontrolled antimicrobial resistance.

Recognizing that human, animal, food and environmental health are closely interconnected, the report calls for a coordinated, multisectoral “One Health” approach.

It recommends countries:

prioritize national action plans to scale-up financing and capacity-building efforts;

put in place stronger regulatory systems and support awareness programs for responsible and prudent use of antimicrobials by professionals in human, animal and plant health;

invest in ambitious research and development for new technologies to combat antimicrobial resistance;

urgently phase out the use of critically important antimicrobials as growth promoters in agriculture...

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COMMENT (NPW): Remarkably, the report appears to say nothing about improving the availability and use of reliable information about antibiotics for prescribers and users of medicines. This is a critically important issue. WHO itself acknowledges: ‘Globally, most prescribers receive most of their prescribing information from the pharmaceutical industry and in many countries this is the only information they receive.’ World Medicines Report 2011, WHO. Information from the pharmaceutical industry is designed to make people prescribe even more and to use even more expensive antibiotics - which are the opposite of what is needed. Meanwhile, the information needs of users (patients, general public) are also ignored, and knowledge about antibiotics and about AMR are extremely low. This sitation could so easily be addressed if WHO and others could take the lead. Availability of reliable information on antibiotics is a sine qua non for rational prescribing. Where is the leadership???

Best wishes, Neil

Joint Coordinator HIFA Project on Information for Prescribers and Users of Medicines

http://www.hifa.org/projects/prescribers-and-users-medicines

Let's build a future where people are no longer dying for lack of healthcare information - Join HIFA: www.hifa.org

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org