February 3, 2017
Philippines urges continuous fight against AMR
The Philippine Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday urged different stakeholders and partners including the pharmaceutical industry to continue the fight against antimicrobial resistance, or AMR.
DOH spokesperson, Dr. Eric Tayag, said in a press conference after the launching by Merck Sharp & Dohme of the newly approved antibiotic ceftolozane–tazobactam that AMR has become a huge problem, the Philippine News Agency reported.
Tayag said the health department was working with the agriculture department to ensure that the use of antibiotics as growth promoters among farm animals for human consumption are supervised and not abused.
He also expressed hope that one day, food labels would indicate that the food does not contain any antibiotic residue.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), antimicrobial resistance occurs when microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites, change when they are exposed to antimicrobial drugs, such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, antimalarials, and anthelmintics. As a result, the medicines become ineffective and infections persist in the body, increasing the risk of spread to others.
Misuse and overuse of antimicrobials
The WHO said AMR occurs naturally over time, usually through genetic changes but the misuse and overuse of antimicrobials is accelerating this process. It noted that in many places, antibiotics are overused and misused in people and animals, and often given without professional oversight. Examples of misuse include when they are given as growth promoters in animals and fish.
The fight against AMR began two years ago as the WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) raised the need for nations to address the problem since antibiotics often used to cure diseases are losing their efficacy.
Experts said both humans and animals contribute to the AMR problem.
Infectious disease specialist Dr. Roentgene Solante explained that since antibiotics are used as growth promoters in farm animals including chickens and pigs, residues are transferred to humans when they consume these animals, thus contributing to AMR.