• 20May

    Information campaign at heart of addressing antibiotic resistance

    Lord Jim O’Neill’s global Review on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) has set out its final recommendations, providing a comprehensive action plan to prevent drug-resistant infections and defeat the rising threat of superbugs – something that could kill 10 million people a year by 2050.

    The report sets out why AMR is such a huge problem, with antimicrobial drugs becoming less effective and enough new ones in development to keep up.

    It then sets out 10 areas where the world needs to take action to tackle AMR. Many of these measures focus on how we can reduce the unnecessary use of antimicrobials, and so the rate at which resistance increases, making our current drugs last longer. Others look at how we can increase the supply of new antimicrobial drugs because, even if we reduce unnecessary use, our arsenal to defeat superbugs is running out and needs to be replenished.

    Key to the action plan is the recommendation to establish a global public information and awareness campaign to educate about the problem of drug resistance. This is identified as an urgent priority and the Review urges international campaign developers, industry experts, and non-governmental organisations to consider how they could help to support such a campaign.

    The review recognises that a single global campaign is unlikely to make sense, given the complexity of national and regional messages. Instead there should be a common set of core messages that are globally consistent, with recognisable and iconic themes and symbols. Each country or region would then deliver the message locally in a way that is tailored to their particular audience and use locally relevant channels of communication.

    The recommendation highlights two key focuses linked to the campaign:

    • Labelling of medicines, in recognition that a campaign will have no impact if the public can not recognise which drugs are antibiotics in the first place.
    • Shifting public demand for antibiotics, and recognising the patient as a consumer.

    The report can be read on the AMR Review website.