Auditors warn that the EU’s progress in tackling AMR is too slow
Antimicrobial resistance is a huge threat. In the EU alone, it costs around 33,000 lives and causes economic losses of an estimated €1.5 billion. And the threat is growing. In fact, it’s predicted that, by 2050, AMR will be a bigger killer than cancer.
Furthermore, despite there being some progress in this area, a report by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) has found the EU’s strategies in tackling this public health treat are yet to deliver any results, and haven’t been effective in reducing the risk of superbugs.
The EU’s program, “EU One Health”, was introduced in June 2017 to reduce the risks posed by MAR. It aims to deliver “effective and sustainable responses” in order to “reduce the emergence and spread of AMR and to increase the development and availability of new effective antimicrobials inside and outside the EU.”
However, in the last eight months, EU auditors have looked at how the Commission manages this scheme, including how it manages key activities and resources. It found that there’s little evidence the risks have been reduced.
In recent years, antibiotic use in livestock has been growing, and this is believed to be one of the biggest causes of AMR. Misuse and overuse of these antibiotics has resulted in the emergence of resistance and the emergence of superbugs that can’t be treated with medicines.
The auditors suggested that, going forward, the Commission needs to improve the EU response to AMR by supporting individual national action plans, promoting responsible use of antibiotics, and strengthening the strategies and improving AMR research across the EU.
In a press release, it was noted that underfunding was a key issue, and in order to achieve the results required, certain agencies needed more support. So far, the EU has chosen to direct most of its funding into research, with over 99% of the budget being directed to this area.