Antibiotic resistance needs urgent attention, says pharmaceutical experts

The expected impact of antibiotic resistance, unless any urgent measures are taken, will be approximately $100 trillion in lost output.

Approximately $100 trillion will be lost globally, as an expected impact of antibiotic resistance by 2050, according to experts in pharmaceutical manufacturing.

A ‘Continuous Training Education (CTE)’ workshop to train and educate industry stakeholders on the issue was held in Dubai by DSM Sinochem Pharmaceuticals (DSP) in association with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi. The workshop had participants from regional and global pharmaceutical companies in the UAE.

The expected impact of antibiotic resistance, unless any urgent measures are taken, will be approximately $100 trillion in lost output. This would also mean loss of close to 10 million lives every year by 2050 as a result of antibiotic resistance. 

Due to the seriousness of these challenges, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has now placed “Anti-microbial Resistance” (AMR) on its agenda. The UAE government along with other countries in 2015 initiated the 68th World Health Assembly Resolution for Global Action Plan on AMR committing to developing National Action Plans by the end of 2017. 

According to reports, although the non-prescription sale of antibiotics is illegal in the GCC states, a large number of pharmacies do still sell them without a prescription. “The production of antibiotics comes with huge responsibility. Antibiotics save lives and we need to do everything possible to preserve the effectiveness of existing antibiotics. Especially since the pipeline for new antibiotics and alternatives is still practically dry and it will take years of research before we can use them. The generic pharmaceutical industry can help fighting AMR in several ways – we can source responsibly made antibiotics, solve access issues, advocate responsible use, and comply with highest quality and regulatory requirements,” said Lucas Wiarda, global marketing director and head of sustainable antibiotics programme, DSP. 

The aim and objective of the workshop was to impart a certified advanced training and education programme to give updated knowledge to the technical pharmaceutical teams on developments in quality assessment and control, production, research and development, manufacturing techniques and sourcing for the pharmaceutical industry. 

Speaking at the workshop, Prof Anurag S Rathore of IIT Delhi, said: “Healthcare globally faces two key challenges in affordability and quality. While affordability has been addressed at least in pharmaceuticals, quality is still a concern. An industry wide collaboration with academia where the costs and the benefits are shared, would be the ideal way to deal with the issue.”

Pete Camper, sales director of DSP, told the pharmaceutical industry worldwide is confronted with serious challenges of quality and regulatory requirements. “The recent years have witnessed a clear call to the industry from various sectors to raise its bar on tackling the competitive market through responsible production mechanisms. The CTE programme offers a good opportunity to reiterate our pledge to follow best practices during manufacturing and waste treatment of effluents to preserve and protect our environment.” 

The sessions also updated participants on quality by design techniques and case studies presented by IIT experts. Researchers found that poor hand-hygiene compliance at hospitals and the large population of migrant workers in the region could have contributed to the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The key participants in the event included senior representatives and division heads from manufacturing, research and development, quality control and assurance, purchase, and formulation and development departments in large and medium-sized pharmaceutical industries based in the region.

What is antibiotic resistance?

Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in a way that reduces the effectiveness of drugs, chemicals, or other agents designed to cure or prevent infections. The bacteria survive and continue to multiply, causing more harm.

Ways to fight the resistance: 

> Source responsibly made antibiotics

> Solve access issues

> Advocate responsible use

> Comply with the highest quality

> Follow regulatory requirements



Staff Reporter

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