10 November 2011
ANTIBIOTIC ACTION‚ÄôS CAMPAIGN TO GO GLOBAL FOLLOWING PARLIAMENTARY SUCCESS
Antibiotic Action, a UK led global initiative, yesterday delivered a petition to 10 Downing Street signed by almost 5,000 clinicians and scientists ‚Äì and declared its campaign was going global to help save lives around the world of those at risk from untreatable infections.
The parliamentary launch sponsored by Kevin Barron MP, former chair of the Health Select Committee, resulted in swift and strong support including the tabling of an Early Day Motion and support for a new all-party parliamentary group to support antibiotic research and development.
At the launch event, attended amongst others by Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, Mr Barron urged parliamentary colleagues to support the initiative.
Prof Laura Piddock, President of BSAC, talked about how many factors, including complex regulation and lack of return on investment has led to the market failure of antibiotic development. It is estimated to cost $500 million to develop one new antibiotic, a sum companies find it hard to recoup when these drugs are sold cheaply and are given for short periods of time.
She warned that the shortage of effective, modern antibiotics could result in a healthcare crisis as infections of the 21st Century become increasingly resistant to currently available antibiotics and so untreatable.
‚ÄúWe need action now, and the action should be on producing new antibiotics, and we need to think global about this. We have launched Antibiotic Action in the UK, but it is a global initiative that has received global support. In the next few weeks we plan to roll out our campaign out in other countries. We are looking today for UK government and all political parties to support this initiative and help us achieve this.‚Äù
Dr Hilary Jones, a GP and ITV doctor, spoke of his support for the campaign, and the urgency for new antibiotics. He said:
‚ÄúAbout 30 years ago in 1983- 1987 there were about 16 antibiotics brought forward into production, and compared to 2008 to 2012, where we are expecting something like two or four. And we don‚Äôt know if any of those will give us the clinical efficacy that we really need.
‚ÄúA return to a pre-antibiotic era would be a terrible and devastating proposition, but it is a very real possibility if things stay as they are. At the turn of the last century it was quite common for families to lose at least two or three siblings, and perhaps a parent, to what we consider routine infections today. Imagine a world today where wound infections kill people, where operations, like hip and knee replacements, lead to infections which people would succumb to – purely because we don‚Äôt have sufficient antibiotics to treat routine secondary complications. Resistance to antibiotics is growing, it‚Äôs a very real problem and we shouldn‚Äôt be complacent.‚Äù
Dr Matthew Dryden, a consultant at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital, Winchester Hospital, said antibiotic resistance is a global problem which knows no boundaries and it was vital to have government support.
‚ÄúOur campaign urges the government to facilitate the link between research departments in universities, industry and regulatory authorities to help discover and deliver novel antibiotics. We should be good at doing this in Britain as we have excellent research departments enabling this to happen.
‚ÄúToday is the beginning of a long journey, but one we are determined to make, and which we are determined to succeed in.‚Äù
The guests, who included representatives from the nursing and clinical profession, charities, the pharmaceutical industry as well as patient advocacy groups, also heard from cystic fibrosis sufferer Sharon Brennan who described how her health and well-being depended on taking daily antibiotics.
Speaking after the event, Professor Piddock said ‚ÄúWe are delighted that the aims of Antibiotic Action have been so well received. The combined outcomes of our Petition, the Early Day Motion and the future All Party Parliamentary Group will ensure the UK has a firm platform from which to lead this global drive to ensure the delivery of new antibiotics for future use.
Notes to Editors:
Further information is available from:
- Mrs Tracey Guise, Tel: 0121 236 1988, Email: email@example.com
- Professor Laura Piddock, Tel: O121 414 6966, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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