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Alex Sobel: We Must Act Now Against Resistance to Antibiotics

Alex Sobel MP has addressed the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Jeremy Hunt, about antimicrobial resistance (AMR), including resistance to antibiotics, this week. He asked “what steps have been taken to prevent the over prescription of antimicrobial's” which is estimated to result in 10 million deaths a year by 2050 if it is not urgently tackled.


The Government’s Five-Year AMR Strategy will come to an end this year but the risks facing the UK are still extremely prominent. In 2016, a UK commissioned review found that the global cost of antimicrobial resistance will be an estimated $100 trillion by 2050 and a bigger killer than cancer.


Despite these shocking findings there has been significant global decline in investment towards antibiotic research and development.


Alex Sobel said: “The dangers of inaction and complacency in this area is stark and there have already been AMR related problems on our doorstep. In 2015 Leeds faced an outbreak of Super Gonorrhoea, a stronger more resistant strain of Gonorrhoea, developed as a direct result of underestimating the issues posed by antimicrobial resistance. If serious political action is not taken to secure long term solutions to resistance of antimicrobials then a simple paper cut could become deadly.”


“Whilst the Government is considering establishing a Global Innovation Fund and new ways of investing in antibiotics to prevent over prescription, much more serious action needs to be taken imminently. Resistance to antibiotics is unpredictable which is why more funding needs to be allocated to research in this area and over prescription needs to be tackled in the meantime.”


“Ongoing cuts to public health services over the past eight years have affected the populations access to sustainable health care. Vaccines fall into this effected area, a 2016 study found that no country in Western Europe spends more than 0.5% of their healthcare budget on vaccination use and research. This is mainly due to the benefits of vaccines not being immediately identified, however, vaccines could be a necessity in tackling antimicrobial resistance by 2050.”


“The conversation around antimicrobial resistance needs to remain in the forefront and be a cross-party priority in order to save lives. Whilst the campaign for awareness and funding continues, I urge all constituents and citizens beyond my constituency to be aware of the dangers of over-using antibiotics. Please always ask your Doctor for more information or alternatives if you are concerned about over prescription.”


Lord O’Neill in his Review on Antimicrobial Resistance said: “Vaccines prevent infections and so reduce the need to use antibiotics. This is true for vaccines that prevent bacterial infections, and it is also true for vaccines that prevent viral infections, such as the flu, which should not be treated with antibiotics but often are anyway.”


“Vaccines are considered among the most cost-effective ways to prevent morbidity and mortality from infectious diseases… Many studies have shown the gains for human health, as well as costs avoided, by using vaccines… Vaccines do not suffer from resistance in the same way that antibiotics often do, though the disease burden of vaccine-preventable diseases can shift to non-vaccine strains.”

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