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Antibiotic Action

How are different countries tackling the issue?

There has been a slowly growing groundswell from academic and learned organization initiatives in recent years that has led to heightened interest and action from politicians across the globe. The Transatlantic Taskforce on Antimicrobial Resistance was established by US Presidential declaration in 2009 and issued its first report in September 2012, identifying the need for intensified cooperation between the US and Europe. In the European Union, the EMA has been reviewing the requirements for clinical trials of antibacterial treatments, while in India the publication of the Chennai Declaration led to changes in Indian law aimed at ending the sale of over-the-counter antibiotics. In the UK, the topic of drug resistance remains high on the political agenda – mainly thanks to the efforts of Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies leading global role, Antibiotic Action and the All Party Parliamentary Committee on Antibiotics (of which BSAC is the secretariat). In 2013, both the World Health Organization and the UK government published their five-year strategies on antimicrobial resistance, while in July 2014, UK Prime Minister David Cameron declared the need for urgent and global action as he announced the launch of a commission on antibiotic resistance.

How bleak is the situation?

Despite the difficulties in discovering and bringing new antibiotics to market, we are hopeful that new antibiotics will be discovered and brought to market. Regulatory changes, such as those afforded by the GAIN initiative in the US, are helping to incentivize antibiotic development and the return of pharmaceutical companies to the space.

What is the most exciting initiative so far?

Perhaps most exciting of all is the recent announcement that antibiotics won the vote for the UK’s £10-million Longitude Prize challenge. It’s exciting because it was a public vote that secured success. Public action is perhaps the least used but potentially most powerful way to demand and ensure action on resistance.

Read more about antimicrobial drug development here.

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About the Author
Tracey Guise

Tracey Guise is ‎Chief Executive Officer at British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.

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