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European Coalition on Homeopathic & Anthroposophic Medicinal Products

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EU action plan against antimicrobial resistance

12 Jul 2017

The European Commission has released a new action plan against antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the ability of microorganisms to resist antimicrobial treatments, especially antibiotics, considered by the World Health Organization and the European institutions to be a major global challenge for public health.

The plan, ‘A European One Health Action Plan against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR),’ seeks to make the EU a 'best-practise' region, boost research, development and innovation and shape the global agenda through appropriate partnerships; the publication follows a call from the European Council in June 2016 for the Commission to further develop actions to fight AMR by increasing cooperation between Member States and by facilitating the implementation of their national plans. Based on the first such plan in 2011, the action plan has been updated following an open consultation with stakeholders earlier this year.

In its response to the consultation, ECHAMP argued that homeopathy and anthroposophic medicine had a contribution to make to this challenge, by helping reduce the use of antibiotics, ensuring appropriate use and by recommending alternatives for well-diagnosed cases, leaving antibiotic therapy as a fall-back option (delayed prescription). We recommended support for further studies on the role of complementary and alternative medicine in treatment strategies to reduce the use of antibiotics. The Commission’s new action plan does not specifically reflect these points, but it does recommend more research ‘to develop new medicinal products, therapeutics and alternative treatments,’ and the Commission commits to ‘support SMEs in their R&D efforts towards innovative and/or alternative therapeutic approaches for the treatment or prevention of bacterial infections.’ (Section 3.2).

This commitment is reflected in a new project set up under the auspices of the Joint Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance (JPIAMR), a collaborative platform set up to co-ordinate research efforts on AMR in Europe and beyond. A working group on ‘Appropriate use of antibiotics: the role of CAM treatment strategies’ has received some initial funding.

Several studies have shown that Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) practices and hospitals have lower antibiotic prescription rates and lower resistance rates compared to conventional practices based on additional prevention and treatment of infections strategies. In order to offer conventional  physicians a safe and effective alternative to antibiotics and to reduce mis- and overprescribing of antibiotics broadly, the available practical expertise and scientific knowledge on  CAM strategies must be further explored and systemized. The working group, co-ordinated by Dr Erik Baars of the Louis Bolk Institute in The Netherlands, is evaluating the relevant studies as well as collecting information on the use of CAM strategies regarding the use and prescription of alternatives to  antibiotics in The Netherlands, France, Germany, England and Switzerland.

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