The European Commission is determined to further strengthen its antimicrobial resistance action for the period beyond 2016, dismissing allegations that the EU executive lacks the political will to do so.
According to the World Health Organization, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the ability of a microorganism – like bacteria and viruses – to stop an antimicrobial, especially antibiotics, from working against it.
Drug resistance, which is mainly caused by the excessive and inappropriate use of antimicrobial medicines like antibiotics, poses severe threats to human health. As the standard treatments become ineffective, infections develop and spread to others.
A combination of factors like patients’ poor knowledge on the issue as well as doctors’ inclination to administrate antibiotics “very easily” have helped drug resistance significantly grow.
For the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), a public health advocacy group, changing the approach on antibiotics will not be easy and requires continuous efforts.
EPHA’s President, Archie Turnbull says that the reason for the increased use of antibiotics was that patients and the medical community have not taken on board the fact that the resistance develops.
He stressed that instead of using antibiotics as an emergency or as a last resort, they are used as first defence line from an infectious attack.
For Turnbull, the only solution is specific education for doctors, pharmacists and patients.
“Do not run to six different doctors if the first doctor does not give you antibiotics.
Several people do it because some doctors refuse to prescribe it”.
Pharmaceutical companies are also beginning to play a role and already work with doctors, providing them with education material and treatment information on how to use a drug under particular circumstances.