An important call to action to fight antimicrobial resistance
According to a recent study published in The Lancet, antimicrobial resistance is now a leading cause of death worldwide.
According to a recent study published in The Lancet, antimicrobial resistance is now a leading cause of death worldwide. The study estimated that 4.95 million deaths were associated with bacterial AMR in 2019, including 1.27 million deaths attributable to bacterial AMR. That means more people died from bacterial infections that didn’t respond to antibiotic treatment in 2019 than from HIV or malaria.
“This study clearly shows that AMR is a growing global health threat that requires action now,” says Sam Borgert, PharmD, Senior Medical Science Director at Melinta.
“This takeaway isn’t always as clear in other epidemiological studies. When we look at resistance trends for specific bacteria, or we hone in on resistance rates for a specific region of the world, some studies tell a brighter story – that AMR may be slowing, or in some cases, leveling off. But, when we look at AMR on a global scale, like this study published in The Lancet that analyzed data from more than 200 countries, it’s clear that AMR-related infections and deaths are dramatically increasing globally.”
Marianna Fedorenko, PharmD, Melinta Medical Science Director, adds, “This study helps to illuminate that this is a critical health trend that we all need to be aware of, whether it’s currently having a major impact on you or your community, patient population or region of the world, or not yet. It affects all of us. The world came together to fight COVID-19, and we can all do our part to fight this pandemic too.”
Here’s how healthcare providers, patients and everyone can take action to fight AMR.
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, all healthcare providers, no matter the setting, can take steps to practice antibiotic stewardship and help prevent the rise of AMR-related infections by:
- Advocating for hospital antibiotic stewardship programs. Inappropriate, improper and/or incorrect use of antibiotics contributes to AMR. Antibiotic stewardship programs aim to ensure antibiotics are prescribed appropriately to hospital patients, and patients receive the shortest effective duration of therapy. Hospital providers can advocate for resources to be allocated to these stewardship programs so they can be thoroughly implemented to improve hospital antibiotic use.
- Ensuring appropriate diagnostics. The faster a patient can get a definitive diagnosis, the faster they can receive the appropriate treatment to fight their specific infection and the more likely it is that they’ll recover. A fast diagnosis also reduces the overuse of antibiotics, which can help prevent AMR.
- Supporting outpatient antibiotic stewardship. Outside of the hospital, there are many healthcare providers who prescribe antibiotics, including dentists, podiatrists, dermatologists and urgent care professionals. These providers also have a responsibility to follow appropriate antibiotic guidelines to reduce misuse and overuse of antibiotics that can contribute to AMR.
- Educating patients about AMR and antibiotic adherence. Healthcare providers in any setting have an opportunity to educate patients about antibiotic best practices, the importance of adherence to their prescribed medication and the dangers of misuse.
For more information about antibiotic stewardship, check out these resources from the CDC.
“This study clearly shows that AMR is a growing global health threat that requires action now”
Sam Borgert, PharmD, Senior Medical Science Director at Melinta
As a patient, you can help ensure the best treatment outcomes and prevent AMR by:
- Listening to your healthcare provider. Not all infections require antibiotics. If your doctor doesn’t recommend antibiotics for your condition, ask about other measures you can take to treat and improve your condition.
- Only taking antibiotics that are prescribed to you for your current diagnosis. Never share antibiotics with someone else, take antibiotics that aren’t prescribed to you or take antibiotics that were prescribed to you for a previous condition.
- Taking antibiotics for the duration they are prescribed. Even if symptoms begin to ease, continue taking the antibiotics for the full course they are prescribed. That helps prevent infections from recurring and becoming resistant to antibiotics.
- Preventing infections from occurring or spreading. The silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic is that the world became more educated on best practices to prevent infections, including regular and thorough handwashing, staying home when you’re sick and getting recommended vaccines. These are practices we can all do to lower the risk of contracting any infection and spreading it to others.
For more tips for patients, visit the CDC’s website.
Both healthcare providers and patients play an important role in preventing the development of further antimicrobial resistance. But, we also need constant innovation in the antibiotic space so that we have new medications to combat and treat infections caused by antibiotic-resistant organisms — now and in the future.
The problem is that current policies can disincentivize hospitals to use innovative antimicrobials. Some organizations, like the Antimicrobial Working Group, of which Melinta is a member, are committed to advancing public policy that will change this landscape. Aside from organizations like this, everyone, not just policymakers or industry leaders, can help make a difference by staying informed and advocating with your local representatives to pass important congressional acts, including:
- The DISARM Act: This act proposes changes to the reimbursement payment model to increase patient access to innovative antimicrobials. It would also encourage innovation in this space. It was recently reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives with bipartisan support.
- The PASTEUR Act: Under this act, the federal government would incentivize pharmaceutical companies in this space to develop new, innovative antibiotics for the most life-threatening infections. This Act was also recently reintroduced to Congress with bipartisan support.
Looking to the future
Just like the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re all in the AMR fight together, and we can all do our part to slow the spread of AMR-related infections.
At Melinta, we have an unparalleled commitment to serving patients with unmet critical needs, including the growing global health threat of AMR infections. We’re visionaries dedicated to innovation while staying grounded in what matters most: patients.
As members of BioNJ, the only New Jersey affiliate of the Biotech Innovation Organization (BIO), Melinta leadership advocates for change in public policy alongside other industry leaders. Melinta CEO Christine Ann Miller is also on the executive committee for the Antimicrobial Working Group.
With collective action from industry leaders, healthcare providers, patients and policymakers, we can make every step count to prevent antimicrobial resistance from growing.