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Prudent use of antimicrobial agents in human medicine

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Prudent use of antimicrobial agents in human medicine

 

SUMMARY OF:

Recommendation 2002/77/EC on the use of antimicrobials in medicine

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE RECOMMENDATION?

It calls on European Union (EU) countries to develop and implement specific strategies for the prudent use of antimicrobial agents*, such as antibiotics, in human medicine, in order to preserve their effectiveness.

KEY POINTS

To fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the recommendation sets out specific measures to:

  • strengthen surveillance systems for AMR and the use of antimicrobials (e.g. collect data on prescription and use of antibiotics in hospitals);
  • develop control and preventive measures on the prudent use of antimicrobial agents by setting rules for the use of antibiotics and implementing hygiene and infection control measures in institutions (hospitals, nursing homes, etc.);
  • promote the education and training of dentists, pharmacists, nurses and others in the medical profession on the problem of AMR, and reduce the need for antibiotics;
  • inform the public of the importance of prudent use of antimicrobial agents by raising awareness of the problem of AMR and encouraging realistic public expectations for prescribing antibiotics;
  • promote research initiatives relating to AMR control, with an emphasis on the mechanisms of emergence and the spread of AMR among humans.

Rules concerning products

The recommendation contains guidelines for the use of antimicrobial products. Control systems for the marketing of antimicrobial products are to be put in place to ensure that they comply with the principles of good management of communicable diseases.

Follow up measures

Reports

EU countries have submitted regular implementation reports of the strategy measures they have taken. Based on the information provided, the Commission has published reports at 5-yearly intervals:

  • In 2005, the first report called on EU countries to:
    • tackle the problem of self-medication with antibiotics, in particular by educating the general public about the risks involved;
    • draw up guidelines recommending appropriate antibiotic treatment.
  • In 2010, the second report called for, among other things, an appropriate intersectoral mechanism in each EU country to coordinate the implementation of the strategies envisaged in the recommendation.
  • In 2015, the third report called on EU countries to:
    • enforce control and preventive measures;
    • take measures to increase policymakers’ commitment to addressing the issue of AMR; and
    • foster research in key areas to overcome current gaps in AMR control.

Action plans

In 2011, following the 2005 and 2010 reports and the adoption by the Council in 2009 of a recommendation on patient safety, the Commission adopted a 5-year action plan to address the threats from AMR.

A second action plan will be launched in 2017. It will focus on:

  • supporting EU countries, particularly in establishing, implementing and monitoring their national action plans;
  • bringing together EU funds and instruments in order to promote innovation and research against AMR; and
  • strengthening its leading role in global fora, notably within the international organisations and with major trade partners.

BACKGROUND

For more information, see:

* KEY TERMS

Antimicrobial agents: any of a large variety of chemical compounds and physical agents used to destroy infectious microorganisms or prevent their development (e.g. antibiotic penicillin, antiseptics or germicides).

MAIN DOCUMENT

Council Recommendation 2002/77/EC of 15 November 2001 on the prudent use of antimicrobial agents in human medicine (OJ L 34, 5.2.2002, pp. 13–16)

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Report from the Commission to the Council on the basis of Member States’ reports on the implementation of Council Recommendation (2002/77/EC) on the prudent use of antimicrobial agents in human medicine (COM(2005) 684 final, 22.12.2005)

Second report from the Commission to the Council on the basis of Member States’ reports on the implementation of the Council recommendation (2002/77/EC) on the prudent use of antimicrobial agents in human medicine (COM(2010) 141 final, 9.4.2010)

Prudent use of antimicrobial agents in human medicine: third report on implementation of the Council recommendation (2016)

last update 01.03.2017

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