Governments must heed the warnings of top doctors and beef up the EU’s work on joint research projects to counter the deadly threat of antibiotic resistant infections, says Euro MP Phil Bennion.
The West Midlands MEP and Lib Dem Employment and Social Affairs spokesman welcomed the call by Britain’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies that the threat of growing resistance to antibiotics should be taken as seriously as international terrorism.
Professor Davies has urged the G8 summit in London next month to consider the issue, warning that otherwise routine operations and chemotherapy would become deadly within 20 years.
She highlighted the European Union’s Innovative Medicines Initiative - an EU funded body whose aim is to promote the development of new medicines – as a way of filling the gap in research.
Phil Bennion MEP said:
“The problem is that antibiotics are not keeping pace with mutations in pathogens, as drug companies are not funding enough research. New drugs would not be all that profitable.
“The EU’s IMI programme is already sponsoring some exciting new research under it’s Anti-Microbial Resistance project. Plainly more needs to be done and this kind of funding stream must be protected from cuts in the EU budget.
“The Chief Medical Officer has highlighted a gap in research commissioned by the private sector. As well as G8 nations, EU Governments and the European Commission need to take this warning very seriously.
“LibDem MEPs have been fighting to ensure that funds for innovation and research, including medical research, are secured for the long term in the new EU budget.
“The draft EU budget deal trumpeted by David Cameron after last month’s EU summit would slash funding for research and innovation.”
Projects announced in February 2013 for the European Union's IMI programme include:
- The €194.6 million COMBACTE project - to create a new comprehensive clinical research agenda to address antibacterial resistance.
- The_€29.3 million TRANSLOCATION project to investigate new pathways for getting antibiotics into bacteria
- Anti-biotic resistant bacteria already cause 25,000 deaths in the EU each year. No new classes of anti-biotic drugs have been introduced since 1987.