Government pledges to cut antibiotic prescribing by a 'further 15%'


The British government also plans to control and contain drug resistance within 20 years and reduce the use of antibiotics in humans by 15% over the next five years.

Mr Jones added that he was pleased the narrative around the AMR issue in the United Kingdom had moved away from one of blame between veterinary and human healthcare, to a genuine interest in what each other is doing. The five-year plan outlines how the United Kingdom intends to explore potential alternatives to antibiotics including novel therapies, nutrition and genetics as well as vaccination.

We're going to do it through immunisation, better infection control and working with doctors, vets, farmers and patients to prevent unnecessary prescription of antibiotics. "There is also a need for more information on various related factors such as reasons for treatment, demographic, disease and treatment history". This new approach will provide a real boost to the pharma companies developing new AMR medicines, especially the SMEs that are doing the majority of the research work in the UK.

Professor Fiona Watt, Executive Chair of the MRC, which leads UKRI's AMR Cross-Council Initiative, said: "Antimicrobial resistance arises from a complex interplay between biological, economic, cultural, environmental, and technical factors. Antimicrobial resistance is a big danger to humanity and is as big a danger as climate change or warfare". "If we are to bring the global threat of AMR under control, we must ensure that new antibiotics now in development make it to the people who need them most", Ed Whiting, Wellcome's Director of Policy, said in a statement to CNN.

Prime Minister Theresa May added: "The increase in antibiotic resistance is a threat we can not afford to ignore". Ineffective antibiotics could mean routine operations such as hip replacements or caesareans will 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".

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The UK has successfully reduced antibiotic use by more than 7% since 2014. She added: "But UK Government must deliver a regulatory environment to encourage innovation, investment, productivity and the development of new veterinary medicines, including vaccines, to help drive innovation and encourage a thriving UK animal health sector".

Since 2014, the United Kingdom has cut the amount of antibiotics it uses by more than 7% and sales of antibiotics for use in food-producing animals have dropped by 40%, noted a release on the report. "These are likely to focus on maintaining responsible use and continuing to improve underlying heath, farm infrastructure, nutrition, genetics and preventative measures".

Superbugs have become an issue due to the overuse of antibiotics. A survey, reported in the British Medical Journal in 2014, identified that more than half of Global Positioning System felt pressurised by patients to prescribe antibiotics, and 44% admitted having done so to get the patient to leave the clinic.

"The pig industry has shown itself to up to the antibiotic challenge so far, but it is not complacent about the fact that there is more to be done".

At the heart of it is changing the way we think of antibiotics from a medical product to a medical service.