UN convenes High Level Meeting on AMR

Following publication of the UK’s seminal Review on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), the United Nations has convened a High Level Meeting on AMR which has resulted in a landmark declaration agreeing to tackle the threat being signed by 193 countries.

The agreement follows a worldwide campaign led by the Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to highlight the threat posed to modern medicine by antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Every signatory has agreed that drug resistant infections must be tackled as a priority. The nations have committed to:

  • develop surveillance and regulatory systems on the use and sales of antimicrobial medicines for humans and animals

  • encourage innovative ways to develop new antibiotics, and improve rapid diagnostics

  • raise awareness among health professionals and the public on how to prevent drug resistant infections

The UN Secretary General will now convene a group including UN agencies to accelerate action and report back in 2 years.

The Declaration builds on the important commitments made by G20 leaders earlier this month to consider how to stimulate research and the development of new antimicrobial products.

The UK has been at the forefront of the international campaign leading up to this meeting and to mark this moment yesterday co-hosted a ministerial event with Kenya, South Africa, Australia, Argentina and Japan.

In his global review on AMR, Lord O'Neill called for a $2 billion investment in global innovation funding to tackle AMR by 2020. At the event, governments from around the world agreed to coordinate their collectiveAMR funding for maximum impact. Together. this funding totals more than £600 million, approaching halfway to the final ambition set by Lord O'Neill.

This includes the UK's £369 million commitment to international AMRprogrammes in the last 2 years. Other commitments include £41.6 million international investment by the Joint Programming Initiative on AMR, the GARD initiative based in Geneva, significant global investment from the US through their £189 million CARBX project, and the 'Roadmap for Antibiotic Discovery' developed by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

The event brought together international leaders, foreign ministers, finance ministers and the pharmaceutical industry to discuss innovative ways of incentivising the development of lifesaving antimicrobials, preventive treatments such as vaccines, and better diagnostics.

Main announcements from the event include:

  • 12 pharmaceutical companies have signed up to an industry 'roadmap' to tackle resistant infections. The roadmap contains a number of commitments including steps to ensure affordable access to high quality antibiotics in low and middle income countries.

  • to measure their progress and improve industry performance in AMR the Department for International Development has funded the creation of a new antimicrobial resistance index. This index will monitor and rank the leading pharmaceutical companies using a set of indicators that measure progress against many of the commitments made in the roadmap. The index will be created by the Access to Medicine Foundation and published in January 2018.