Antimicrobial resistance as big a threat as climate change - Health Secretary

Antimicrobial resistance as big a threat as climate change - Health Secretary

The UK government has published a new five year plan aimed at tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR), including a new NHS reimbursement scheme backed by NICE to encourage pharma to develop new antibiotics.

The pharmaceutical industry is braced for criticism that it has been reluctant to carry out research in the area since it is potentially less profitable than breakthrough medicines.

We have today set a target in the United Kingdom of cutting resistant infections by 10% within the next five years.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "Imagine a world without antibiotics".

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "Each and every one of us benefits from antibiotics, but we all too easily take them for granted, and I shudder at the thought of a world in which their power is diminished".

But the number of drug-resistant bloodstream infections has nevertheless increased by 35 percent from 2013 to 2017.

The plan aims to build on the success of the previous United Kingdom 5-year AMR strategy, which was launched in 2013 with the aim of improving knowledge and understanding of AMR, conserving antibiotics, and stimulating development of new treatments for drug-resistant infections.

Antibiotics may also be given as a precaution to prevent, rather than treat, an infection, although this is normally recommended if you are having surgery on a part of the body which carries a high risk of infection.

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To promote animal husbandry that prevents endemic diseases, the United Kingdom will develop plans with the livestock sector to improve animal health and address endemic disease issues through disease control schemes, veterinary advice and health planning, and tools for promoting knowledge transfer. This was the human condition until nearly a century ago. I don't want it to be the future for my children - yet it may be unless we act'.

She said: "Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest and most risky threats to modern healthcare, and the more high-level support we get to tackle this problem, the better".

Public Health England also warned past year that common procedures including caesarean sections and hip replacements could carry greater risks if antibiotic resistance and shortages of the drugs continue to grow.

"Antimicrobial resistance, like many other threats such as infectious disease outbreaks and climate change, is not confined by borders". It is vital that we tackle the spread of drug-resistant infections before routine operations and minor illnesses become life-threatening.

"The UK has shown worldwide leadership in raising the profile of this global health threat and today reinforces its commitment to finding solutions to the issues which have hampered the development of new medicines for so long". "We will continue to work with our partners to drive global action that will protect the health of future generations".

Here, the NHS could take the lead on pioneering a new payment system that reflects the true value of antibiotics to society, and switches how these drugs are viewed from a product, to a service, he said, likening the shift to Spotify subscriber from vinyl record shopper, with fees paid upfront.

Over the last few decades, development of new antibiotics has nearly ground to a halt as big pharma does not think it is worth the low return on investment.

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