Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Back to the pre-antibiotic era?

The European Parliament adopted a resolution today in which it warns against neglecting antimicrobial resistance. Currently, bacteria that are resistant to antimicrobial drugs cause 25,000 deaths a year in the EU, Iceland and Norway. This significant amount suggests that more money should be spent on developing new, better drugs, as well as careful usage of existing drugs and improvements of animal husbandry should be reinforced. (Parliament calls for immediate action to tackle antimicrobial resistance)

I find this news interesting, coming from Poland where you are prescribed antibiotics for anything - it's enough you sneezed a few times, but living in the Netherlands - where you won't get an appointment with a doctor if you haven't been sick at least a week, and where antibiotics are being prescribed only if clear evidence of bacteria has been found (yes, tests would be conducted first). The European Parliament now argues for adoption of prudent-use guidelines to reduce non-essential exposure to antibiotics in human and veterinary medicine, agriculture etc. Basically, the approach of doctors (Polish ones, for sure), pharmacists etc. has to change which could be achieved by providing them with more and better education and training. More comprehensive information should also be given to consumers to make them aware of the harm done by using antimicrobial drugs improperly and they should not be accessible without a prescription.

"The number of resistant bacteria in Europe is exploding. Bacteria travel across borders and are a threat for the whole EU. First of all, we must ensure that the use of antimicrobials for both humans and animals is reduced. But we also need to bridge the gap between rising resistance and development of new antimicrobials by promoting more research and innovation. If we don't take measures now, the growing resistance could threaten our ability to treat patients and could even take us back to the pre-antibiotic era." said Ms Anna Rosbach.

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