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Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a significant and increasing threat to public health globally. It is estimated that in the US and Europe alone, antimicrobial-resistant infections currently cause at least 50,000 deaths per year with hundreds of thousands more dying in other areas of the world.

If we are unable to slow the acceleration of AMR, future consequences will be worse still. The Review on antimicrobial resistance has estimated that 10 million people a year could be dying as a result of AMR by 2050.[1]  The Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davis has said it is possible we will return to a time where 40 per cent of the population die prematurely from infections we cannot treat.[2] 

There is action that can be taken to slow the progression of AMR. Examples of these actions include:

    • Improving infection control;
    • Ensuring appropriate prescribing and use of antibiotics in both humans and animals;
    • Investing in the research and development (R&D) of new drugs and diagnostic tools; and
    • Ensuring adequate monitoring of prescribing and resistance on a national and international basis.

The independent review on antimicrobial resistance (the review) was launched by the former Prime Minister, David Cameron in July 2014 and was led by the economist Lord O’Neill of Gatley.[3] The review board aimed to understand the global implications of AMR and propose international solutions for addressing it.[4] It has published a number of reports both on the consequences and actions to tackle antimicrobial resistance. The final report was published in May 2016 and made ten recommendations, these included better surveillance of antimicrobial use and resistance, a global public awareness campaign on this issue, and new approaches to funding medicine and diagnostics development. The Government responded to the report in September 2016. It agreed with a need for improved investment in R&D, and said it would work to gain global support for the recommendations in the report.

[1]     The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, Antimicrobial Resistance: Tackling a crisis for the health and wealth of nations, December 2014

[2]     Kings Fund, What if antibiotics were to stop working?,

[3]     Department of Health and Prime Minister’s Office, Prime Minister warns of global threat of antibiotic resistance, 2 July 2014

[4]     The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, Antimicrobial Resistance: Tackling a crisis for the health and wealth of nations, December 2014


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