Need for greater EU action on antimicrobial resistance

Global consumption of antibiotics in human medicine rose by nearly 40% in the decade from 2000 and in 2007 25,000 people a year in the EU were dying from an infection due to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Infections due to these multi-drug resistant bacteria are estimated to cost the EU at least €1.5 billion a year in extra healthcare costs and lost productivity. If current trends continue, over the next 35 years 300 million people worldwide are expected to die prematurely because of drug resistance.

As part of its wider strategy to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the European Commission has published a Special Eurobarometer survey, showing a decrease of 6% in the consumption of antibiotics but at the same time a persistent lack of awareness on their effects.

According to the report, over a third of Europeans took antibiotics in the twelve months preceding the survey, yet 57% of Europeans were unaware that antibiotics are ineffective against viruses. The survey clearly demonstrates that there exists a direct link between better information and lower consumption.

For more information on EU action on antimicrobial resistance on the ec.europa.eu website