Joint fight against antibiotic resistance

Antibiotic resistance is a phenomenon where the bacterial strain becomes resistant to the antibiotic used for the treatment of the disease. Multi-resistant bacteria are resistant to several different antibiotics.

Antibiotic resistance increases human morbidity and mortality, also causing healthcare costs to rise. The phenomenon has grown rapidly during the past few years, becoming one of the most serious threats in human and veterinary medicine.

Many diseases that are now curable with antibiotics may become life-threatening in the future. Simple infections may turn out to be very dangerous, even for people in basic good health. In addition to fighting diseases, antibiotics are important for successful surgical operations and in cancer medication, HIV treatments and in organ transplants.

Antibiotics only for true needs

To prevent the spreading of antibiotic resistance, it is important that antibiotics are used only when needed. They should not be taken excessively or for wrong purposes. The healthcare system needs clear instructions on the correct and safe use of antibiotics. However, such instructions must not prevent the use of antibiotics when they are needed.

People should remember that antibiotics will not help in flus or common colds.  The use of antibiotics for diseases where such medication is not efficient will increase the risk of antibiotic resistance and may hamper therapies if the patient is faced with a later serious disease. Antibiotics must never be bought without a prescription, even if they would be available, for example, in a tourist resort pharmacy.

Industry, authorities and researcher working together

New antibiotic therapies should be resorted to with restraint so that the potentially ensuing antibiotic resistance can be postponed. 

The pharmaceutical industry is engaged in the work against antibiotic resistance through the investments made in R&D which generate novel innovative therapies, and by promoting the access to novel antibiotics. There are two projects underway in Europe involving the pharmaceutical industry, authorities and researchers, with the objective of identifying new means to develop novel antibiotics.