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A leap forward: the AMR Committee welcomes Council Conclusions

The Dutch Presidency last Friday (17.06.2016) adopted their Council Conclusions on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), marking the end of their rotation of the Presidency of the Council. The issue of resistance has been a priority not only for the Netherlands, but also for Slovakia and Malta as outlined in the Trio Programme.

Key overarching themes of the Council Conclusions

One of the key recommendations is for Member States to have a national action plan against AMR in place by mid-2017. These plans should include measurable goals and a good mechanism for implementation, i.e. it should be tangible and enforceable.

Our Committee welcomes this idea and we believe that this is a first necessary step in order to ensure that each country commits to the fight against superbugs.

Furthermore, the Conclusions propose to use the EU One Health Network as a platform for countries to present their national action plans and share best practices.

While we welcome this idea, our Committee believes that AMR should not be tackled in isolation, but rather in a systemic sense. For this reason, we propose to set up the European Health Semester, a tool to assess countries’ status on certain cross-border threats, starting with AMR. Just like in the original Semester process, Member States would receive country-specific recommendations on their status and development in the given domain. We would also advise to set up national AMR Teams in the Member States, in order to ensure implementation and continuous contact.

Promoting the use of diagnostic tools, including rapid tests and their uptake is listed as one of the calls to Member States from the Presidency. The recommendations of our Committee are in line with this. In fact, we would even suggest taking it a step further by combining the use of rapid tests (when available) with so-called delayed prescriptions. The latter would enable patients to pick up their antibiotic prescription at a pharmacy only if their test results indicate a bacterial infection. This would encourage the proper prescribing of antibiotics.

Want to hear more about our recommendations? Please join us at the EHP plenary session on June 29 in the European Parliament.

What’s next?

Our Committee read with interest the recent publications of the UK AMR Review as well as the Council Conclusions mentioned above. It is clear that AMR is high on the political agenda and that much of the thinking are along the same lines regarding possible solutions. What we need now is to implement these effectively.

We hope that this is just the beginning of the discussion and that we can be part of the solution and implementation of these ideas, along with our own recommendations.

By Tímea Rezi-Kató, chair of the AMR committee

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