Member of the European Parliament, Vice Chair of AMR Interest Group
AMR is a key cross-border health issue for Europe and the world. This silent pandemic is already affecting our health today and will continue in the future. Without effective action, AMR will take us back to a pre-antibiotic age when death by infection was much more common.
Each year, already more than 700,000 people die globally as a consequence of drug-resistant bacteria. The COVID-19 crisis has exposed the weaknesses in our healthcare systems, revealed underlying inequalities and reminded the world of the serious threat that emerging infectious diseases can pose to human health and our economies.
Antibiotics are not a cure-all drug
The awareness of the relationship between the use of antimicrobials and the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is still very low. Among other things, we need to stop the misuse and overuse of antibiotics. We need better information campaigns so the public is aware that antibiotics are not a cure-all drug.
The COVID-19 crisis has exposed the weaknesses in our healthcare systems, revealed underlying inequalities and reminded the world of the serious threat that emerging infectious diseases can pose to human health and our economies.
In addition, we need to offer alternative treatments and stewardships for healthcare professionals. Monitoring and surveillance also need to be strengthened as well as infection prevention and control. A focus needs to also be put on better access to rapid and affordable diagnostic tools.
Support for needs-driven models is essential
AMR-related challenges will only increase in the years ahead. Effective action is reliant on continued, cross-sectoral investments in public and private research and innovation so that better tools, products and devices, as well as new treatments and alternative approaches, can be developed.
The current antibiotic innovation pipeline is broken. This is why we need to support the development of needs-driven models to fix the antibiotic development pipeline next to ensuring both prudent use of new drugs, as well as equitable and affordable access for patients.
We will need to support needs-driven models to finance and stimulate antibiotic research and put forward new models that delink research and innovation cost from the price of products through alternative mechanisms, such as milestone prizes.
AMR is a key area where European citizens rightly expect firm European action, as it cannot be tackled efficiently at national level. The Commissions pharmaceutical strategy will play a key role in combating AMR in the years to come.