Medicine

United Kingdom launches 5-year antimicrobial resistance action plan

United Kingdom launches 5-year antimicrobial resistance action plan

In his speech he will call antibiotic resistance as important as climate change as he reveals a plan to tackle the problem. It takes hundreds of millions of pounds to research and develop a new treatment, but we want to use new antibiotics sparingly, so pharma companies are unlikely to recoup their R&D investment by selling these new life-saving drugs to the NHS as sales volumes will be severely curtailed. Ineffective antibiotics could mean routine operations such as hip replacements or caesareans will become life-threatening.

The NHS has unveiled a five-year national action plan pledging to reduce its use of antibiotics by 15% by 2024 after the health secretary declared drug-resistant superbugs are now as big a threat as climate change or war.

"The rise and spread of antimicrobial resistance is creating a new generation of "superbugs" that can not be treated with existing medicines", the government said.

The DH also warned of a "growing number" of online pharmacies which "exploit gaps in global regulatory mechanisms to sell antibiotics around the world, often without prescription or clinical guidance".

Professor Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer, welcomed the plans, saying: 'Too many people are already dying as a result of drug-resistant infections around the world, while many still do not have access to the antibiotics they need.

Since 2014, the United Kingdom has cut antibiotic use by more than 7%, but the number of drug-resistant bloodstream infections nonetheless increased by 35% between 2013 and 2017, Hancock said.

However, the number of drug-resistant bloodstream infections in the United Kingdom have increased by 35% from 2013 to 2017, according to the five-year plan.

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At the heart of that plan is the development of a new way of paying for antibiotics that he said will start development in the NHS within the next six months.

"I could not look my children in the eyes unless I knew I was doing all in my power to solve this great threat", Matt Hancock said during a speech at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland on Thursday. The idea is that this will help antibiotics stay effective by reducing the number of resistant infections.

Both the five-year plan and the vision to 2040 were informed by the human and animal health, environment and food chain sectors.

Low returns on investment in developing drugs also mean the pharmaceutical "industry does not innovate enough and as a result, very few of the new drugs that are now in the pipeline are targeted towards priority infections", according to a press release from the UK's Department of Health and Social Care.

I am proud of the work the United Kingdom has done to secure antimicrobial resistance on the global agenda.

Mr Hancock will also announce a "subscription model" to encourage the development of new medicines to fight the superbug threat. Everybody can play a part in only using antibiotics when they're really ill. Antibiotic resistance needs to be treated as a global health emergency, he said. Without effective antibiotics, straightforward, everyday operations like caesarean sections or hip replacements could become too risky to perform.

"If you just buy the drugs in a direct way from the drug companies, the commercial incentives are to keep pumping out the old antibiotics", Hancock said.

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