Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)
AMR occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines, making infections harder to treat, increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death. The emerging increase of microbes that are resistant to antimicrobial treatments has become a global public health concern that threatens the effective treatment of infectious diseases:
- In 2019: estimated 4.95 million deaths (1.27 million deaths directly attributable to resistance to medicines).
- Every year 35,000 EU/EEA citizens die from infections with antibiotic resistant bacteria, with an annual cost of over €1.5 billion to EU health systems.
- By 2050: 10 million lives/year + 100 trillion US dollars of economic output are at risk.
PGEU Position Paper on Antimicrobial Resistance
- Community pharmacists play a key role in antimicrobial stewardship, including counselling and advising on the prudent use of antibiotics and other antimicrobials, as well as their correct disposal.
- The revision of the General Pharmaceutical Legislation offers an opportunity to reinforce stewardship programs for antimicrobials.
- Pharmacies can be used as healthcare settings for effective public health campaigns on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).
- Pharmacists are healthcare professionals qualified to perform point of care testing to screen for early signs of infectious diseases and differentiate between viral and bacterial infections.
- Community pharmacists have shown that the network of pharmacies spread across the territory offers highly accessible testing services to the population during the COVID-19 pandemic (in at least 12 countries).
- Community pharmacists play a fundamental role in pharmacy-based vaccination which is a valuable tool in the fight against AMR.
- Integrated clinical pathways available in some countries have shown positive results in protocol-based dispensing of antimicrobials following a test done at the pharmacy.
- Community pharmacists’ access to electronic health records can be used to increase the early warning systems regarding monitoring shortages of antimicrobials.