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PRESS RELEASE: European Commission: AMR is next pandemic to be prevented


Brussels, 26 March 2021 – During yesterday’s Portuguese EU Presidency’s Global Health Conference European Commissioner Stella Kyriakides (SANTE) delivered the following statement: “We also need to confront the rise of Antimicrobial resistance – a major global health threat that is like a silent pandemic. We need to learn the lessons from COVID-19, and that means pushing forward the AMR agenda now, before it is too late. I want to take this opportunity to call for a more comprehensive One Health Global Action Plan, that also addresses the environmental effects of AMR.”

This is the first time that the European Commission formally heeds the 15 November 2019 advice of the European Court of Auditors to step up Europe’s preparedness for an outbreak of totally- or multiple-resistant bacteria. According to the World Bank this will cause 300 million deaths and over 100 trillion USD in economic damage by 2050 unless action is taken now.

According to former Belgian Prime Minister Mark Eyskens and former UN Under-Secretary- General Ad Melkert (NL) the Commission’s ‘HERA’ initiative (Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority) now requires adaptation. They argue that the European Union’s health policy is not yet harmonized. This causes unacceptable problems and delays when coordinated and unified action boils down to a matter of life and death. In an open letter to all EU Heads of State and Government, the European Commission, the European Parliament and all EU national Parliaments, both Elder Statesmen present a HERA/European Health Security Council based on the model of the European Defense Agency. The European Council must lead, the European Commission must prepare policy and action, and the European Parliament must control and secure transparency.

Without such an approach it may be impossible to fundamentally change the relationship between politics and industry. Particularly the inability of industries to produce new classes of antibioticswithout securing profitability (‘market failure’) and the ownership of patents acquired through tax-payers’ money need immediate and effective addressing. 

Please find below full documentation, with legal and scientific sourcing, as presented to all of Europe’s key institutions:
Letter to Portuguese EU Presidency, 24 March 2021
Memorandum: ‘HERA (EU BARDA) – Mortal challenges and how to address these’
Memorandum: ‘A proposal on structure and organisation including the Council and the European Parliament’ 

Full video conference found here