Plan revealed to fight growing resistance to antibiotics

Henrietta Brewer
January 26, 2019

"Antimicrobial resistance is as big a danger to humanity and as big a danger as climate change or warfare". At the same time, it discourages the companies from developing new antibiotics, because any new drug would likely be kept in reserve as long current antibiotics remain effective. "That's why we need an urgent global response", he said.

"The rise and spread of antimicrobial resistance is creating a new generation of "superbugs" that can not be treated with existing medicines", the government said.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is such a threat that "we are on the cusp of a world where a simple graze could be deadly", the Health and Social Care Secretary has warned.

According to the Department of Health and Social Care, every year in the United Kingdom 2,000 people die due to drug resistant infections.

Livestock and pets account for more than a third of antibiotic consumption in the United Kingdom, though the government says sales for use in food production have fallen by 40%.

In his speech on Thursday, Mr Hancock will also unveil plans to reduce the number of resistant infections by 10 per cent by 2025.

At the heart of that plan is the development of a new way of paying for antibiotics that he said will start development in the NHS within the next six months. NICE and NHS England will explore a new payment model that pays pharmaceutical companies based on how valuable their medicines are to the NHS, rather than on the number of antibiotics sold.

But the number of drug-resistant bloodstream infections has nevertheless increased by 35 percent from 2013 to 2017.

'FGDP (UK) is enabling dentists to play their part in tackling a significant global problem, and by using the Self-Audit Tool, consulting our guidance and undertaking CPD, GDPs can help ensure they only prescribe antibiotics when clinically justified.

The action plan aims to prevent at least 15,000 patients each year from contracting infections as a result of their healthcare, also by 2024, and new technology will be used to gather real-time patient data to help clinicians determine when to use or preserve antibiotics.

The plan set out by Mr Hancock sets out how the United Kingdom will achieve its new 20 year vision, in which AMR is contained and controlled by 2040.

"The UK has shown worldwide leadership in raising the profile of this global health threat and today reinforces its commitment to finding solutions to the issues which have hampered the development of new medicines for so long".

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

Since then, more than 100 new antibiotics have been developed.

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".

There are an estimated 53,000 resistant infections per year and more than 60% of those are picked up in healthcare settings. Antibiotic resistance needs to be treated as a global health emergency, he said.

He said: "The new 5-year National Action Plan will support our plans to continue progress in reducing, refining or replacing antibiotic use".

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