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WHO Details Plan to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance Globally

Posted 29 April 2019 | By Ana Mulero 

WHO Details Plan to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance Globally

The World Health Organization (WHO) finalized a report on combating antimicrobial resistance (AMR), stressing the urgency to act.

The final report—developed by the Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (IACG)—identifies 14 recommendations centered on the urgency and action needed for a global fight against AMR.

“The challenges of antimicrobial resistance are complex and multifaceted, but they are not insurmountable,” WHO said, arguing the report’s recommendations “will help to save millions of lives, maintain economic and other development gains, and secure the future from drug-resistant diseases.”

The challenges the report seeks to tackle relate to factors including the misuse and overuse of antimicrobial agents, poor prescribing practices and weak regulation and oversight.

At least 700,000 deaths are attributed to drug-resistant diseases every year, according to the report.

The report focuses on accelerating progress and innovating to protect the future from drug-resistant diseases, as well as collaborating for more effective action and increasing investments. The report also urges strengthening accountability and global governance.

Each recommendation provides an overview of its aim and considerations. Those that are urgent include enhancing national surveillance, regulatory frameworks and enforcement capacity in all countries. This involves investing additional resources to accelerate regulatory approvals, monitoring AMR and supporting the access to as well as the affordability and appropriate use of antimicrobials. "Harmonized regulatory guidance for new antimicrobials, vaccines and alternatives to antimicrobials...will help to prevent existing registration and commercialization challenges resulting from divergent approval requirements and processes," the IACG notes.

The IACG also recommends “the urgent establishment of a One Health Global Leadership Group” on AMR, despite drawing opposition to the US government’s response to the draft version of the recommendations. An “essential first step” is bringing the use of antimicrobials in WHO’s list of highest priority antimicrobials, like quinolones, as growth promoters to an immediate stop.

Members of the World Health Assembly adopted the plan to fight AMR in 2015. In recent years, several regulatory authorities have moved to set forth a plan of their own. These include the European Medicines Agency and the US Food and Drug Administration, which is targeting reimbursement reforms.

A 2018 WHO report showed wide disparities in antibiotic use between different countries. It cited overuse and misuse of antibiotics as the leading causes of AMR. “Findings from this report confirm the need to take urgent action, such as enforcing prescription-only policies, to reduce unnecessary use of antibiotics,” WHO essential medicines and health products department director Suzanne Hill said.

WHO

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