More Support for Individual Member States Is Needed to Tackle AMR in Europe

For Release

November 3, 2016

An evaluation of the European Commission's (EC) Action Plan against antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has shown that more action is required to support individual member states, particularly on developing and implementing their own action plans.

Despite stimulating international efforts towards tackling AMR, the evaluation, conducted by the not-for-profit research organisation, RAND Europe, highlighted the highly variable impact of the plan across individual EU member states. A one-size-fits-all approach is insufficient when dealing with the diverse challenges in each country.

The EC's Action Plan against AMR was seen an important symbol of European Union (EU) political commitment on the issue, and was broadly coherent with wider EU policies in human health, animal health and welfare, food safety and research. However, more could be done to make it coherent with EU environmental policies, as it did not fully cover the broad range of environmental issues related to AMR transmission, such as the impacts of agricultural and human waste on the environment.

Elta Smith, the evaluation report's lead author and a research leader at RAND Europe, says: “AMR will be one of the biggest global threats to public health and the economy in our lifetime. This is why we need a coherent and co-ordinated plan worldwide that covers all the bases — human health, animal health, the food chain, and the environment. Our evaluation has shown that the EC made significant progress and is leading the way in the global fight against AMR. The next step is a more comprehensive plan that supports activities at national and international levels.”

The evaluation highlighted the many successes from the EC’s AMR Action Plan, which included significant funding for AMR-related research and innovation, the development of new EU animal health policies and guidelines for the prudent use of antimicrobials in veterinary medicine.

Consolidating EU funds and instruments to provide coordinated support for research and innovation on AMR issues and strengthening the EU’s role in the international community as a leader on tackling AMR were seen as important next steps in light of these success stories.

Elta Smith continues: “The EC’s AMR Action Plan has had many successes during the past five years. Perhaps most importantly it has symbolised the EC’s commitment to tackling AMR and stimulated positive action in Europe and beyond. There is still more work to be done, however, with co-ordinated international action across the many different areas that will be affected by AMR being of the upmost importance.”

RAND Europe made six recommendations to the EC to build on the progress already made by its AMR Action Plan and address areas for further development and improvement:

  • Additional co-ordinated and bespoke support for EU member states;
  • Expanding the scope of environmental action;
  • Contributing further to international efforts to tackle AMR;
  • Sustaining the level of support for AMR research and innovation activities;
  • Expanding the monitoring of AMR and AMR-related activities; and
  • Improving communication about the EU's efforts to tackle AMR.

Previous findings from a study RAND Europe conducted as part of the O'Neill Review on Antimicrobial Resistance showed that the potential global costs of AMR are significant — up to $100 trillion worldwide by 2050 if the problem is not addressed. Other findings from the study indicated that failing to tackle AMR could lead to the deaths of 10 million people each year — equivalent to one death every three seconds.

The O'Neill Review, published on 19 May, made recommendations to tackle AMR worldwide, such as improving financial incentives for the development of research on AMR and new antibiotics, reducing the misuse of antibiotics currently on the market and improving access to clean water and sanitation to prevent infections from spreading.

To view the report visit:

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Notes to Editors:

About RAND Europe

RAND Europe is a not-for-profit organisation whose mission is to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. Our clients include European institutions, governments, charities, foundations, universities and private sector firms with a need for impartial research. We combine deep subject knowledge across diverse policy areas including health, science and innovation; defence, security and infrastructure; and home affairs and social policy. Combined with proven methodological expertise in evaluation, impact measurement and choice modelling, we are able to offer quality-assured research and analysis, unbiased insights and actionable solutions that make a difference to people's lives.

About the RAND Corporation

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