Introduction - EPHA Briefing on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

The discovery of antimicrobial agents, such as antibiotics, has transformed the treatment of infectious diseases in both humans and animals. As growing mobility and trade have increased the risk and incidence of cross-border infections, so antimicrobials have been instrumental in preventing and treating such diseases – an especially crucial function in the facilitation of the single European market. However, as consumption of antimicrobials has increased, the natural processes of adaptation and mutation have resulted in new, resistant strains of common diseases. Unresponsive to traditional treatments, these pose a major threat to public health, as demonstrated by the proliferation of regional and global pandemics.

In 2011, the European Commission stated that 25,000 patients die annually as a result of infections caused by bacteria that exhibit Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) 1. In addition to the human cost incurred, the loss of productivity and increase in healthcare expenditure costs EU health systems approximately €1.5 billion annually 2. In 2012 the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned that without prompt action to reduce the incidence of AMR, we risk returning to a ‘’pre-antibiotic era’’, whereby previously minor infections lead to morbidity or even mortality 3 – such a situation would seriously challenge the fulfilment of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals set for 2015.

- EPHA Briefing on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

Last modified on November 17 2013.