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AMR development challenge not just health security risk: India

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India today said that the issue of anti-microbial resistance (AMR) should be seen holistically as a “development challenge” instead of interpreting it narrowly as a health security risk.health-services

“We believe that AMR should be seen from a broader perspective as a development challenge rather than limiting it to a health security risk,” India said during a debate on the draft global action plan on AMR at the 68th World Health Assembly (WHA).

“Emphasis should be on raising awareness, infection prevention, promoting rational use of antibiotics and addressing the needs of developing countries in strengthening access to health care facilities, promoting availability and affordability of existing and new antibiotics, diagnostics and vaccines,” India said.

Developing countries and health activists have been concerned about resources for implementing AMR plans particularly, affordable, point of care diagnostics to inform health practitioners and veterinarians of the susceptibility of pathogens to available antibiotics.

The draft in its current form emphasises surveillance but doesn’t mention any financial commitment crucial for developing countries to implement the plans, they have argued.

AMR can develop in human and animal health as well as through food and agriculture sectors.

WHO has warned of a “post-antibiotic era” where common infections could become difficult to treat due to the overuse or misuse of antibiotics and other microbial medicines?

All member states are expected to have in place, within two years of the endorsement of the draft action plan by WHA, national action plans on AMR aligned with the global plan.

India also pointed out that there is not only a need to accelerate R&D for new antibiotics since no new class of antibiotics has been developed in the last 30 years but also for the global health body to ensure the affordability of new antibiotics.

Currently, most major pharmaceutical companies have stopped research in development of new antibiotics; a situation described by WHO’s Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development, as a “serious market failure.”

India had in January called for de-linking the cost of investment in R&D from the volume of sale. In the same meeting, they had also indicated the role of pharmaceutical industries in unethical marketing practices that may lead to overdose in antibiotics — which the draft global action plan on AMR does not address.

“All five objectives identified in the AMR should be simultaneously pursued with equal emphasis and priority,” India stated and requested the Chair of the Assembly for further consultations before the resolution is adopted.

The five objectives mentioned are “whole-of-society engagement, prevention first, access not excess, sustainability, incremental targets for implementation.”

In May 2014, the 67th WHA had adopted a resolution to draft a global action plan to combat anti-microbial resistance, including antibiotic resistance, to be submitted in this WHA.

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