Coordination across the EU needed to manage AMR

To tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) on an EU-level, we need to pool knowledge resources, strengthen support and economic measures that help companies bring cost-saving solutions to market, and underpin all actions with solid cross-border coordination.

Johanna Assadi Rissanen, SwedenBIO’s representative in the AMR Taskforce.

Earlier this month, SwedenBIO submitted its comment on the European Commission’s call for evidence on AMR, which aims to set concrete objectives and activities that can strengthen national action against AMR among member states.

At SwedenBIO, we increased our focus on the highly relevant and urgent topic AMR last year, and formed a dedicated AMR taskforce that continuously work on the matter. We’ve welcomed the opportunity to share some concrete suggestions with the European Commission.

In our response, we emphasize the importance of thinking in new ways and combining knowledge across both research fields and national borders. The national execution of policies directed at decreasing antibiotic use and increasing the use of alternative, preventive and complimentary treatments must be quicker – we need enforcement of harmonized and more strict requirements for the use of antibiotics across the EU.

We suggest pooling resources internationally to create knowledge programmes for healthcare providers, in which preventative actions to decrease the risk of AMR-related infection can be evaluated and used to further educate healthcare staff.

“There are many solutions in the Swedish life science industry that can help decrease the need for antibiotics. Decisionmakers within healthcare need to be informed of and guided toward those solutions. Instead of working reactively, they need to shift focus to a proactive way of thinking, using antibiotics only as a last resort,” says Johanna Assadi Rissanen, SwedenBIO’s representative in Taskforce AMR.

From a health economic perspective, there is a need for further support and guidance in health economics and economic measures, particularly for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Healthcare expenditure represents a major cost to society and developing products that reduce AMR-related hospitalizations would result in significant savings. Unfortunately, it is still a competence that most SMEs lack.

To streamline the work on fighting AMR we would like to see a clarification and mapping of all AMR-related initiatives on an EU level to ensure efficient project investment, together with continuous evaluation of previous and current national programs.

Finally, we firmly believe that coordinated actions between countries to tackle the problem are crucial, since AMR is a global health threat. For example, Sweden together with the UK has been piloting entirely novel procurement and reimbursement mechanisms for antimicrobials.

Read SwedenBIO’s consultation response in its entirety here.