Calling on the EU to remain on the front line of the global battle against AMR – industry stands ready to play its part

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a multi-faceted, complex issue and its burden is growing at an alarming pace. Its impact goes beyond its severe consequences for humans and animals. AMR affects the environment, food production and economic growth. Due to the spread of AMR, our ability to treat common infectious diseases is being put at serious risk. According to official data, AMR might be responsible for 700,000 deaths annually world-wide, including 33,000 in the EU.
As we embark on World Antibiotic Awareness Week and European Antibiotic Awareness Day, EFPIA, Vaccines Europe, and their Members reiterate their commitment to finding effective solutions to AMR. In this respect, we strongly support concerted EU action, as outlined in the 2017 EU One Health Action Plan against AMR, the European Parliament’s 2018 Report on a European One Health Action Plan against AMR, and more recently the June 2019 Council Conclusions on the next steps towards making the EU a best practice region in combatting AMR.
We also believe that to effectively implement measures aimed at fighting AMR, continued collaboration between all stakeholders is necessary. Solutions must be found, jointly, to improve prevention of infections, hygiene, stewardship, and conservation of existing antibiotics.
In parallel, the EU One Health Action Plan against AMR highlights that R&D novel initiatives and incentives should be put in place, to boost the development of new antibiotics and vaccines. As noted in the 15 November 2019 European Court of Auditors’ Special Report Addressing antimicrobial resistance: progress in the animal sector, but this threat remains a challenge for the EU[1], “the antimicrobials market lacks commercial incentives to develop new treatments” and today “concrete initiatives to address market failures affecting provisions of new antimicrobials are largely absent”. The Court of Auditors calls on the Commission to “further examine how to address market failures affecting the provision of antimicrobials”. The European Parliament had also urged the Commission, in 2015 and 2018, to “consider a new legislative framework to stimulate the development of new antimicrobials for humans”[2].
Actions to reduce environmental impact from the production of antibiotics are equally fundamental. As members of the AMR Industry Alliance, EFPIA and Vaccines Europe have agreed, among other things, on a framework that promotes responsible antibiotic manufacturing.
As underlined by EFPIA’s Director General Nathalie Moll “the dangers posed by AMR are clear and we are therefore very encouraged to see that AMR features among the priorities of the next Health Commissioner. Only through concerted action will we find solutions. Global collaboration, as well as a cross-sectoral, ‘One Health’ approach will be essential to tackle AMR and the research-based pharmaceutical industry stands ready to play its part”.