Prime Minister orders review into antibiotic resistance

The Prime Minister has commissioned an independent review to explore the growing threat of antibiotic resistance.

David Cameron announced that he wanted Britain to lead the way in bringing new drugs to the world market, and battling against antimicrobial resistant infections. The PM has asked economist Jim O’Neill to work with a panel of experts on accelerating the “discovery and development of a new generation of antibiotics.”

He said: “Resistance to antibiotics is now a very real and worrying threat, as bacteria mutate to become immune to their effects. With some 25,000 people a year already dying from infections resistant to antibiotic drugs in Europe alone, this is not some distant threat but something happening right now.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has welcomed the review. Peter Jones, BVA past-president, said: “Antibiotics are vital medicines for both human and animal health and we are working hard to safeguard their use for the future, but it is clear that we must also find ways to develop new antibiotics in veterinary medicine.  

“The development pipeline for new antibiotics in both human and animal health is at an all-time low, so we welcome measures to investigate how to manage this trend.

“One of the greatest challenges to both animal and human health is the threat of antibiotic resistance, which has the potential to become a global catastrophe. To ensure healthy animals in the future, we must ensure we safeguard veterinary medicines. And so across the country we continue to take a lead in raising awareness about the need to use these vital medicines responsibly.”

Cameron added: “If we fail to act, we are looking at an almost unthinkable scenario where antibiotics no longer work and we are cast back into the dark ages of medicine, where treatable infections and injuries will kill once again.”

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