EU AMR action plan ignores pharma pollution, say NGOs

By Flora Southey

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags European union

NGOs have criticised the European Commission’s plan to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR), saying the policy does not adequately address environment contamination concerns.

The Act, which replaces the previous 2011-2016 action plan, is designed to slow the spread of AMR by ensuring the appropriate use of antibiotics, and encouraging research and development to treat, prevent and diagnose infectious diseases.

“It provides a framework for continued, more extensive action to reduce the emergence and spread of AMR and to increase the development and availability of new effective antimicrobials inside and outside the EU,” ​the guidance states.

However, the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), comprised of non-government organisations, patient groups, health professionals and disease groups, said the Act fails to address the problem of pollution generated by drug and active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) firms which have been blamed​ for contributing to the spread of AMR.

“There is a major gap in the action plan, where action on pharmaceutical industrial pollution is needed.”

“The environmental dimension of AMR still is not addressed sufficiently – despite the fact that the Commission’s own evaluation of the previous Action Plan (2011-2016) recognised this failing,”​ said the EPHA.

In the plan, the Commission acknowledges environmental concerns and the need to address waste management in order to combat AMR. However, it states that stronger evidence is required in order to inform guidance in this area.

The EPHA disagrees the Commission’s stance, saying that reports released by the Swedish Government, investment managers Nordea​ and EPHA partners, show this to be untrue.

“The continued omission of the environmental causes of AMR confirms our fears that stakeholder inputs and expertise have not been taken sufficiently into account,” said EPHA’s Sascha Marschang.

“Several stakeholders submitted evidence on industrial and environmental causes of drug-resistance and proposed credible solutions for introduction at EU level including changes to Good Manufacturing Practices and procurement rules. Neither is addressed. The failure to recognise hampers the credibility of the EU as a global leader in tackling AMR,” ​he said.

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