BVA adds voice to PM’s call for new antibiotics

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement of a review into why so few antimicrobial drugs have been introduced in recent years, and has called for the review to extend to animal health.

“Antibiotics are vital medicines for both human and animal health and we are working hard to safeguard their use for the future, but it’s clear that we must also find ways to develop new antibiotics in veterinary medicine,” BVA past president Peter Jones said. “The development pipeline for new antibiotics in both human and animal health is at an all-time low, and so we welcome measures to investigate how to manage this trend.”

David Cameron has announced that economist Jim O’Neill is to lead a panel, including experts from science, finance, industry and global health, that will set out plans for encouraging the development of new antibiotics.

“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,” the prime minister said.

The issue was discussed at a G7 leaders meeting in Brussels earlier this month and Mr Cameron said he got specific support from US president Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. It’s hoped that the review panel’s proposals will be discussed at next year’s G7 summit, which will be hosted by Germany.

• Meanwhile, speaking at the BVA’s annual Welsh dinner in Cardiff on Tuesday nIght (July 1), BVA president Robin Hargreaves reiterated the importance of using antimicrobials responsibly. 

“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,” he said. “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.

“But we mustn’t simply pay lip service to the problem. The BVA asks all veterinary surgeons to look at themselves to make sure that they are each playing their part and doing the right things.”

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