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Doctors told to halve inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions by 2020

Prime Minister announces tough new measures to curb inappropriate antibiotic use in the UK

Ingrid Torjesen

Friday, 27 May 2016

Doctors in the UK will be expected to halve inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics by 2020, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced in Japan at closing of the G7 summit.

He said that Jim O’Neill’s Review on anti-microbial resistance published last week had highlighted the catastrophic consequences of not acting on the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance  – 10 million excess deaths a year by 2050, $100 trillion cost to the world economy and the potential end of modern medicine as we know it.

The UK has already contributed £265 million to track the spread of resistance in developing countries, and put £50 million into a global fund for antimicrobial resistance research and development.

“But we need to go further,” Cameron said. “We need to act on both the demand for new antibiotics and the supply for existing ones. And so we will cut inappropriate prescribing in the UK by half by 2020, leading the global field in reducing demand for antimicrobials.”

He added that he had also talked with other international leaders and the World Bank today about how to develop a system that rewards companies for bringing new products to market. “This is vital work, and the G7 has a clear role to play in taking it forward,” he said.

It is estimated that 10% of the 34 million antibiotics prescribed each year are handed to people inappropriately, suggesting a target reduction of 1.7 million prescriptions annually by 2020.

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