Antimicrobial resistance

Antibiotics play an essential role in human medicine and animal husbandry. Globally, antibiotics consumption rates in human medicine alone rose by 36% between 2000 and 2010. Antibiotic resistance is becoming more and more prevalent worldwide. To an ever greater extent, therefore, doctors have to resort to reserve antibiotics for effective treatment. Many diseases, especially those that affect mainly children, such as malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea, are no longer amenable to treatment with the conventional antibiotics. For more information on antimicrobial resistance, go to Krankenhausinfektionen (German) or WHO's factsheet.

The Davos World Economic Forum has identified antimicrobial resistance as a global risk that no country or organisation can eliminate on its own. The European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) assumes that, every year, antibiotic resistance will cause 25,000 deaths across the EU and approx. 1500m euros worth of economic damage due to added health costs and loss of productivity. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), resistant pathogens will cause an added 8m hospital days in the U.S. alone.

In 2014, WHO had submitted a global report on global surveillance of antimicrobial resistance. The figures illustrate that resistance rates have dramatically increased throughout the world.

In May 2015, the 68th World Health Assembly adopted a Global Action Plan on Antibiotic Resistance. The aim of the Action Plan is to maintain our ability to treat infectious diseases with efficacious and safe medicines for as long as possible. Medicines are to be manufactured in a quality-assured manner and administered responsibly. At the same time, they are to be accessible to all who need them. All Member States are called upon, within the coming two years, to adopt national cross-sectoral action plans. The Action Plan emphasises the 'One Health' approach which implies the need for a joint approach to human and veterinary medicine as well as agriculture, so as to achieve a rational use of antibiotics in humans and animals.

The Action Plan provides a good foundation for further activities in the area of antibiotic resistance within the framework of the G7. The Federal Chancellor, Angela Merkel, will continue to pursue the fight against antibiotic resistance, together with the Heads of State and Government of the G7 states.

For a number of years, Germany has already been pursuing a cross-sectoral approach to combating antibiotic resistance. On 13th May, the Federal Cabinet adopted the new German Antibiotic Resistance Strategy (DART 2020). This strategy follows through on and strengthens the efforts commenced in 2008 to combat antibiotic resistance. Its main areas of emphasis are in line with those of the Global Action Plan.