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[e-drug] WHO: The evolving threat of antimicrobial resistance - Options for action

E-DRUG: WHO: The evolving threat of antimicrobial resistance - Options for

[Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is probably the single biggest threat to
mankind in the area of medicines. WHO published a very good strategy on AMR, 
but its global press launch was cancelled by the 9/11 disaster in USA. WHO has 
now published again a lot of options for action. Reducing (irrational) 
antibiotic use (not only in humans, but especially in commercial animal 
farming!) is probably our most important strategy. National antibiotic 
guidelines are another one. What other priorities do E-druggers want to 
propose? WB]

Full publication:

New WHO book showcases ways to safeguard medications
The evolving threat of antimicrobial resistance - Options for action


Note for the media

8 March 2012 | Geneva - A new book, The evolving threat of antimicrobial
resistance - Options for action, launched by WHO, showcases examples of
actions taken to slow down drug resistance and preserve the ability of
medicine to effectively treat many infectious diseases. The steps taken by
governments, health facilities and providers, and others are examples of
what is recommended in the 2001 WHO Global Strategy for Containment of
Antimicrobial Resistance.

Over several decades, powerful medicines have been developed to treat
diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, HIV, influenza and many bacterial
infections, and all medicines used to treat these infections will likely
become ineffective because of resistance at some point. Antimicrobial
resistance (AMR) has evolved to become a worldwide health threat. Of
critical importance, every antibiotic ever developed is at risk.
More expensive to treat common infections

This makes it difficult and more expensive to treat many common infections,
causing delays in effective treatment or, in worst cases, inability to
provide treatment at all.

"In terms of new replacement antibiotics, the pipeline is virtually dry. But 
much can be done," says Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO. "This 
includes prescribing antibiotics appropriately and only when needed, following 
treatment correctly, restricting the use of antibiotics in food production to 
therapeutic purposes and tackling the problem of substandard and counterfeit 

Drug resistance causes increased and prolonged illness, a greater risk of
complications and higher death rates. Infections which are increasingly
resistant to antibiotics are causing a heavy disease burden, particularly in 
developing countries.

Successful strategies

Some of the examples of a number of successful strategies and measures
highlighted in the book include:

    In Thailand, the "Antibiotic Smart Use" programme reduces the
prescribing of and demanding for antibiotics by both prescribers and
patients. It showed an 18%-46% reduction in antibiotic use while 97% of
targeted patients recovered or improved regardless whether they had taken
    A programme in pharmacies in Viet Nam consisting of inspection for
prescription-only drugs; education on pharmacy treatment guidelines; and
group meetings of pharmacy staff resulted in a significant reduction in
antibiotic dispensing for acute respiratory infections.
    In Norway, the introduction of effective vaccines in farmed salmon and
trout together with improved fish health management reduced the annual use
of antimicrobials in farmed fish by 98% between 1987 and 2004.
    In 2010, the University of Zambia School of Medicine revised their
undergraduate medical curriculum. The topics of AMR and rational use of
medicines were inserted prominently. The aim is that graduates enter
clinical practice with the right skills and attitudes to be both effective
practitioners and committed stewards of AMR containment.

For more information, please contact:

Mr Tarik Jasarevic
Media Officer
Department of Communications, WHO
Mobile: +41 79 747 2756
E-mail: jasarevict@who.int

Publication can be downloaded here:

More WHO resources on antimicrobial resistance:

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