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'10m a year to die due to antibiotics resistance'

Mirror Mirror 19/05/2016 By Ben Glaze
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Routine hospital operations such as hip replacements, caesarean sections and gut surgery could be deemed too dangerous if antibiotics lose their effectiveness to fight superbugs, the Government warns (THU).

Chemotherapy could also become too risky for cancer patients, according to a major review ordered by the Prime Minister.

The growing resistance to drugs should be treated as an “economic and security threat”, said Treasury Minister Lord Jim O’Neill as he published a global action plan to defeat the rising threat of so-called superbugs.

Warning that tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is “absolutely essential”, the former Goldman Sachs chairman suggested a $1billion (£690million) prize to a drugs firm that successfully develops tougher antibiotics.

He urged the G20 club of the world’s leading nations to pump cash into a reward fund to encourage scientific research.

Revealing the findings of his 22-month review, he said: “We need to tackle the supply problem: we need new drugs to replace the ones that are not working any more because of resistance.

“We have not seen a truly new class of antibiotics for decades. It is in policy makers’ hands to change this. We have recommended that countries must review carefully how they buy and price antibiotics, to reward innovative new drugs without encouraging unnecessary use of new antibiotics.”

The increasing resistance to antibiotics is like “facing a growing enemy with a largely depleted armoury”, added the Tory peer.

George Osborne warned last month that drug-resistant superbugs could become an even deadlier threat than cancer.

Ten million people a year could die globally by 2050 because of antibiotics becoming powerless against common infections, the Chancellor said in Washington DC.

About 160,000 people in the UK die each year from cancer. But experts believe 390,000 Britons could die annually because of ineffective medication.

Lord O’Neill’s report suggests failing to tackle drug-resistant superbugs will also cost the world over $100trillion.

Welcoming the review, the Chancellor said: “Apart from the moral case for action of the sort Lord O’Neill proposes, the economic cost of failing to act is too great to contemplate.

“So I am calling on other finance ministries to come together this year and, working with industry leaders and medical experts, agree a common approach.”

England’s chief medical officer Professor Dame Sally Davies said: “At present around 7% of deaths are due to infections. If we do not act, this could rise to 40% - as it was before we had antibiotics.”

Lord O’Neill produced his report with the of the Wellcome(CORR) Trust, a charitable foundation dedicated to boosting health

Director Jeremy Farrar said: “These recommendations offer a road map for stopping growing resistance to our best drugs from claiming millions of lives.

“It is now up to world leaders, business and civil society to respond to this vital call for action, and create the incentives for preserving existing drugs and developing new ones that we need to address this critical challenge.”

Chief veterinary officer Professor Nigel Gibbens called for the use of antibiotics only “where it is unavoidable, necessary and effective”.


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