Antimicrobial Resistance At WHO: Accelerating National Plans, Ensuring Accessibility 27/01/2017 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The rising threat of “super bugs,” bacteria resistant to existing antibiotics, was in discussion at the World Health Organization this week. Concerns were voiced about the slow pace of national action plan implementation to improve the careful use of antibiotics. Meanwhile some developing countries and civil society called for priority to be given to accessibility and affordability to new antibiotics. antimicrobial resistance The 140th WHO Executive Board (EB) meeting is taking place from 23 January to 1 February. Following the United Nations General Assembly High-level Meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance, which took place in New York on 21 September 2016, and 2015 World Health Assembly resolution WHA68.7 on the same subject, the WHO director general was requested to develop options for establishing a global development and stewardship framework to support the development, control, distribution and appropriate use of new antimicrobial medicines, diagnostic tools, and vaccines. The WHA resolution also noted that the development of this framework should preserve existing antimicrobial medicines, and promoting affordable access to existing and new antimicrobial medicines and diagnostic tools, taking into account the needs of all countries, and in line with the global action plan on antimicrobial resistance. The WHO secretariat provided a report [pdf] for the Board to consider, on progress accomplished. Most countries taking the floor underlined the urgency of the matter, whether developed or developing countries. Access, Affordability Key for Developing Countries Algeria for the African Region underlined the need to prioritise guaranteed access to new, quality, and affordable antibiotics. The delegate also stressed the need for more investment in research and development and technology transfer, and to overcome barriers, such as intellectual property rights. Pakistan remarked that easy access to affordable vaccines to population can prevent the use of antibiotics, and global partners should take this factor into consideration. Brazil, on the global development and stewardship framework, said it concurs with the secretariat’s report, which calls for further expert consultation on the framework, followed by discussion with member states and all relevant stakeholders. The Brazilian delegate, in his statement, stressed the relevance for antimicrobial resistance of the recommendations of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines on alternative innovation mechanisms through de-linkage of cost and price. He noted that market inducements and intellectual property rights have not translated into a stream of more effective antimicrobials. Brazil underlined the suggestions found in UK expert Jim O’Neill’s 2016 report on antimicrobial resistance [pdf], including proposals for a fund, prizes, and vouchers for innovation. India said it find the development the framework is slow. The development of the framework should not place any “unbalanced emphasis” on controlling the production, distribution, and sale of antibiotics, the delegate said. Attention should be given to issues of research and development and affordable access to new and existing antibiotics and diagnostics in tackling the challenge of AMR, including in HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria, he said. India also called for the framework to be built through an intergovernmental process “and not left to the experts alone.” Switzerland noted the need for innovative public-private partnerships, and cited the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP), a recent initiative of the WHO and the Drug for Neglected Diseases initiative. Malta on behalf of the European Union said the progress of national action plans is too slow and encouraged all countries to implement or update their national action plan. The EB took note of the report. The EB also adopted a resolution [pdf] on improving the prevention, diagnosis and management of sepsis. Sepsis is a complication caused by the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection, which can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death, according to the US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The draft resolution, which was proposed by Australia, Austria, Colombia, Costa Rica, Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Luxembourg and Switzerland was adopted after a few modifications were suggested by non-sponsors. Civil Society Backs Calls for Affordability, De-linkage Medicus Mundi International in its statement also underlined the need for affordability, equity and de-linkage. They also underlined the need for commitment from the WHO and its partners to address the lack of adequate financial and technical resources in developing and least developed countries to develop national action plans. Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders – MSF) said it witnesses, first-hand, the emergence of antimicrobial resistance. They too, called for the rapid development, funding and execution of national action plans. The global framework should ensure “needs-driven innovation, and affordable and sustainable access to existing and new health technologies.” “We urge Member States and WHO to implement commitments to increase affordable access to vaccines, diagnostics, and drugs, which are critical to reduce antibiotic use, improve specificity of diagnosis, and ensure patients have the medicines they need in a timely fashion,” it said in its statement. Image Credits: Flickr – Nathan Reading Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Catherine Saez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."Antimicrobial Resistance At WHO: Accelerating National Plans, Ensuring Accessibility" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.