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H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L

I S S U E S E V E N

135

S O C I E TA L C H A L L E N G E S : H E A L T H & W E L L B E I N G

Other proposals are implementing marketing

practices designed to prevent conflicts of

interest between producers and prescribers

and improving information on the monitoring of

antimicrobial consumption, AMR and infection

control. Following a vote by MEPs, the

proposals were approved by 637 votes to 32,

with ten abstentions.

Parliamentarians are urging pharmaceutical

companies to invest in developing new

antimicrobial agents and are asking the

European Commission to consider proposing a

‘legislative framework’ to encourage the

development of new antibiotic drugs.

Animal AMR

MEPs are also encouraging the responsible use

of antimicrobials in veterinary medicine,

including medicated feed, by allowing their use

only for treatment after veterinary diagnosis.

The use of veterinary antibiotics should

gradually be restricted to therapeutic purposes

by progressively eliminating their use for

prophylactic ones.

Parliamentarians also say that the use of

metaphylaxis, i.e. the mass medication of

animals to cure sick ones on farms whilst

preventing the infection of healthy ones, should

also be kept to a minimum. Two pieces of

legislation on the matter are under discussion

in the Parliament.

Following the plenary debate, Portal spoke to

Pedicini to explore his report in further detail

and gain further thoughts on the EU’s approach

to tackling AMR and how Horizon 2020 can

help support research to overcome it.

What are the greatest difficulties

facing the EU in making progress to

tackle AMR?

In the initiative report, we welcomed the work

that has been done so far on such a big

challenge for the EU and the entire world;

however, more actions are needed at

supranational level, such as the continuation of

A

ccording to statistics from the European Parliament, an

estimated ten million people worldwide will die every year

due to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) by 2050, more than

the number from cancer. At the moment, 25,000 patients in the EU

die annually as a result of infections caused by resistant bacteria,

and the costs incurred by AMR amount to around €1.5bn each year

due to loss of productivity and an increase in healthcare

expenditure costs. However, by improving knowledge of how

antibiotics work, the more responsible use of such drugs and

developing new medication could help avert such major and

devastating losses.

EP debate

In May, members of the European Parliament proposed a blueprint for

safer healthcare following a plenary session in Strasbourg. Suggested

ways to improve patient safety include tackling growing resistance to

human and veterinary antibiotics, using today’s treatments more

responsibly, and promoting innovation.

Commenting on the debate, Italian MEP Piernicola Pedicini said:

“Austerity measures cannot be imposed in such a way that they affect

the safety of patients, staff or experts in hospitals. Every year 25,000

citizens die in Europe owing to the growing resistance to existing

antimicrobials, so we must stimulate research into new types of

substances. In the veterinary sector, online sales of antimicrobials and

their prophylactic use should be prevented.”

Following the publication of his report entitled ‘Safer healthcare in Europe:

improving patient safety and fighting antimicrobial resistance’, Pedicini

made several recommendations on how to ensure that antibiotics are

used more responsibly; suggestions include strictly prohibiting their use

without prescription and requiring a microbiological diagnosis before

prescribing antibiotics.

Advocating AMR action

Portal

speaks to

Piernicola Pedicini

MEP about his ‘Safer healthcare in Europe:

improving patient safety and fighting antimicrobial resistance’ report and what

further action Brussels can take to tackle this growing problem

Piernicola Pedicini MEP

Pedicini said it is

important to develop

new antibiotics to

overcome bacteria

such as

K. pneumonia

©EuropeanUnion2014 - source:EP