Superbugs: MEPs advocate further measures to curb use of antimicrobials

Antibiotic Resistance Health 2018

Causes of antibiotic resistance
Image credit: World Health Organisation

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.

The growing threat posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria can be tackled through a “One Health” approach, MEPs said on Wednesday.

In their resolution Health Committee MEPs stress that the correct and prudent use of antimicrobials is essential to limiting the emergence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in human healthcare, animal husbandry and aquaculture. However, considerable differences remain in the way member states handle the issue, they say.

The “One Health” principle highlights that  the health of people, animals and the environment are interconnected and that diseases are transmitted from people to animals and vice-versa. Therefore, diseases have to be tackled in both people and animals, while also taking into special consideration the food chain and the environment, which can be another source of resistant microorganisms, say MEPs.

MEPs call on the Commission and member states to restrict the sale of antibiotics by human and animal health professionals, and to remove any incentives for prescribing them. Firm action should be taken against illegal sales, and sales without prescription of antimicrobials in the EU. They call on the Commission to consider mandatory routine collection and submission of monitoring data at EU level and to establish indicators to measure progress.

The European Commission should draft an EU priority pathogen list for both humans and animals, clearly setting the future R&D priorities. Incentives should be created to stimulate investment in new substances.

Preventive measures, such as good hygiene, should be scaled up in order to reduce the human demand for antibiotics. The Commission and member states should promote “health literacy” and raise awareness of the perils of self-medication and over-prescription, say MEPs.

Incentives for rapid diagnostic tests

As health professionals often need to make quick decisions, MEPs note that rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) could help reduce the use of antimicrobials. However, as RDT costs may, at the moment, exceed the price of antibiotics, industry should be given incentives to make them inexpensive and more widely available, say MEPs.

Labels referring to antibiotic use would also enable consumers to make informed choices, and the Commission should create a single system for labelling based on animal welfare standards and good animal husbandry practices, say MEPs.

Legislation on veterinary medicines

Health MEPs also backed the agreement reached with EU ministers on plans to curb the use of antibiotics on farms, so as to keep resistant bacteria out of human foods.

The law would limit the preventive and collective use of antimicrobials in animal husbandry, and empower the European Commission to draw a list of antibiotics reserved for human use.

The agreement with Council also imposes the reciprocity of EU standards in the use of antibiotics in imported foodstuffs.

Quotes

““If nothing is done, antimicrobial resistance might cause more deaths than cancer by 2050. We have to start by looking at the whole cycle, because the health of people and animals is interconnected. Diseases are transmitted from people to animals and vice versa, and that is why we support the holistic approach of the ‘One Health’ initiative” said rapporteur on the “One Health” action plan, Karin Kadenbach (S&D, AT).

“EU member states handle this problem in different ways, so we ask the Commission to consider mandatory routine collection and submission of monitoring data at EU level and to establish indictors to measure progress in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.”

Rapporteur on the veterinary medicinal products legislation, Françoise Grossetête (EPP, FR), said: “Beyond farmers or animal owners, the use of veterinary medicines concerns us all, because it has a direct impact on our environment and our food; in short, on our health. Thanks to this law, we will be able to reduce the consumption of antibiotics on livestock farms, an important source of resistance that is then transmitted to humans. Antibiotic resistance is a real sword of Damocles, threatening to send our health care system back to the Middle Ages”.

Next steps

Both reports were adopted unanimously, and will be put to a vote by the full House in the autumn.

Background

AMR is responsible for an estimated 25,000 deaths and €1.5 billion in extra healthcare costs every year in the EU alone. The rise in AMR is due to a number of factors, such as excessive and inappropriate use of antibiotics in humans, veterinary overuse in livestock, and poor hygiene conditions in healthcare settings or in the food chain. Lack of awareness also remains a key factor: 57% of Europeans are unaware that antibiotics are ineffective against viruses, 44% are unaware that they are ineffective against cold and flu. There are significant differences between EU countries in antimicrobial use, occurrence of resistance, and the extent to which effective national policies deal with AMR have been implemented.

With the new action plan, the Commission aims to reduce these gaps and raise the level of all EU member states to that of the highest performing country. The new action plan builds on the first AMR Action Plan, which ran from 2011 to 2016, its evaluation, the feedback on the roadmap and an open public consultation. In several resolutions, the EP called for more stringent measures, increased surveillance and monitoring, as well as for more research to be performed on new antimicrobials.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

UN court increases sentence of former Bosnian-Serb leader to life imprisonment

Alarming level of reprisals against activists, human rights defenders, and victims – new UN report

Can Argentina’s new president save the country’s economy?

Commission announces actions to make Europe’s raw materials supply more secure and sustainable

‘Massive and protracted’ humanitarian crisis in DR Congo can be ‘beaten back’ if donors step up

Competition: The European Commission launches a process to address the issue of collective bargaining for the self-employed

Mental health problems costing Europe heavily

We need to talk: UN gears up for 75th anniversary with Global Conversations

Tropical Cyclone Idai affects 1.5 million across Mozambique and Malawi, as UN ramps up response

Coronavirus has exposed human rights gaps. We need to fix this

Commission supports normalisation in Greece through activation of post-programme framework

Do not take the EP’s consent on MFF for granted, says Budget Committee Chair

The Juncker Plan at work: bringing investment back on track in Europe

At least 2.5 million migrants were smuggled in 2016, first UN global study shows

EU invests in green projects and bans single-use plastics while climate change requires more to be done

Work to make the world a better place: 5 things you need to know about ‘green jobs’

Ending extreme poverty crucial to sustainable future for all: UN chief

Brazil identifies a clear pathway for aligning its transfer pricing framework with the OECD standard

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Metallo by Aurubis

From Shadows to Sunlight, Paraguay’s Road to Transparency

Macron plans for Europe, Brexit and banks but vague on France

Trade: EU-Singapore agreement to enter into force on 21 November 2019

In The Bahamas, Guterres sees impact of ‘Category Hell’ hurricane, ‘powered by climate change’

World Malaria Day: 7 things to know about the deadly disease

How poor countries can deal with the economic shock of COVID-19

EU Commission – US hasten talks to avoid NGO reactions on free trade agreement

Further reforms will promote a stronger and more inclusive Hungarian economy

UN welcomes progress in former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia naming dispute

Europe is now practically divided as in the Cold War

Why youth unemployment is so difficult to counter

Destroying nuclear waste to create clean energy? It can be done

The cuts on 2014 Budget will divide deeply the EU

Future EU-UK Partnership: European Commission takes first step to launch negotiations with the United Kingdom

Spain will soon overtake Japan in life expectancy rankings. Here’s why

Yemen: Tackling the world’s largest humanitarian crisis

MEPs cap prices of calls within EU and approve emergency alert system

What does strategy have to do with a platform approach?

Coronavirus: Commission continues expanding future vaccines portfolio with new talks

The vehicles of our future

Taxation: Commission refers Germany to the Court for its failure to apply EU rules on VAT for farmers

The ‘American Dream’ can be best achieved in the Nordic nations, says Finland’s PM

Horn of Africa: UN chief welcomes Djibouti agreement between Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia

Strong multilateral institutions key to tackling world’s dramatic challenges, UN chief says In Moscow

Coronavirus COVID-19 wipes $50 billion off global exports in February alone, as IMF pledges support for vulnerable nations

Brexit must not put UK university research at risk

As Alan Turing makes the £50 note, how do countries design their currencies?

Ireland’s planning to make its Emerald Isle even greener

Coronavirus fears may have driven over 300,000 UK smokers to quit

The different ways of care: Is there a general rule to follow?

‘All atrocity crimes are preventable’ and can never be justified – UN chief

European Innovation Scoreboard 2018: Europe must deepen its innovation edge

‘Exercise restraint’ Guterres urges Sri Lankans, as political crisis deepens

Renewable energy could power the world by 2050. Here’s what that future might look like

Here’s how we reboot digital trade for the 21st century

Climate change and health: an everyday solution

Trump’s trade wars: Aiming at long term gains for America

Four key challenges for cybersecurity leaders

Minsk “ceasefire” leaves more doubts than safety, with EU already planning steps further

Pandemic mental health: the urgency of self-care

This disease once wiped out 60% of Europe’s population – and now it’s back

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s