The European Antibiotic Awareness Day Conference, ‘The Future is Now’, was held on Friday 18 November. RUMA chairman Gwyn Jones reports back in our latest blog.
Medical practitioners and experts from human health came together with veterinary experts, farmers, pharmacists and so on, under a true ‘One health’ banner. Furthermore a distinction was made for the first time at such a conference between European agriculture and global agriculture. There was recognition that European agriculture is different, operates to a very different set of rules and has very different standards to the rest of the world.
We all know the challenges facing us and how human medicine will change fundamentally if we cannot reverse the trend of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Cancer patients cannot be treated, organ transplants, hip and other joint replacements cannot continue without effective antibiotics. It is vital we all use antibiotics carefully and prudently in both human and animal treatment. Global trade and the huge movement of people around the world on business and in leisure, all add to the challenge of resistance.
There are considerable amounts of money now flowing into diagnostics and research into fast and accurate results which are much needed. It is agreed that sales volume should not drive innovation, that it should in fact be the other way around. Acknowledgment that agriculture is showing the way in some countries, cutting use, meeting targets and making real progress which human medicine can learn from.
Whilst protest groups and NGO’s continue with their negative and unhelpful attacks, hospitals, doctors, pharmacists, health care workers, veterinarians and farmers are all working to tackle this problem, cut the usage of antibiotics but more importantly better targeted and proper use. The sale of antibiotics in the EU fell by 2.4% last year and there is huge energy and determination behind this issue. We are amongst the leaders in the UK and whilst we have more to do we should congratulate ourselves for the work done to date.