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S&Ds: ‘Silent pandemic’ of antibiotic-resistant germs requires more action and less talk


23 Jun 2022


Health & Consumers

At a vote in the European Parliament today, a mainly conservative majority accepted the Commission’s unambitious list of antimicrobials reserved just for human use. This is a loss for human and animal health, in favour of business interests. Already now, more than 1.3 million people die every year from infections that can no longer be successfully treated due to antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The aim of the objection to the Commission proposal was to curb the massive use of antibiotics – including reserve antibiotics – in commercial animal husbandry, in order to minimise the risk of further antibiotic resistance.

Tiemo Wölken MEP, S&D spokesperson in the health committee, said:

“Antibiotic-resistant germs are a constantly growing threat and recognized as a so-called ‘silent pandemic’ by the European Commission - but only in nice speeches without concrete consequences in the legislation. According to the World Health Organization, antibiotic-resistant germs are among the top ten threats to global health and have the potential to kill 10 million people a year by 2050. Therefore, certain antibiotics, which are still effective against resistant germs and are the last resort in the fight against infections, must be reserved for human treatment. I am appalled that a mainly conservative majority in Parliament has now paved the way for accepting the Commission’s unambitious list of antimicrobials reserved for the treatment of certain infections only in humans.”

“As Socialists and Democrats we had made our dissatisfaction about the proposed list clearly known. The sole purpose of this exercise was to reserve much-needed antibiotics for human use only. However, the list contains not a single antimicrobial currently authorized for veterinary use, which is extremely unambitious as it makes no change and keeps the status quo. If we want to take the fight against antibiotic resistance seriously the time to act is now. This list simply does not do the trick and makes it look like business interests have been prioritised over human and animal health. We will continue our political work to make the ‘one health’ approach a reality as soon as possible, where human health, animal health and the environment would be positively connected with each other.”