Antimicrobial agents – such as antibiotics – have dramatically reduced the number of deaths from infectious diseases during the 70 years since their introduction. However, through overuse and misuse of these agents, many micro-organisms have become resistant to them.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control estimates that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) results each year in 25 000 deaths and related costs of over €1.5 billion in healthcare expenses and productivity losses.

The situation is all the more serious because antimicrobials have become an essential tool for modern medicine. Many surgical operations could not be performed without them.

Road map against antimicrobial resistance

 The Commission's 2011 action plan against the rising threats from antimicrobial resistancepdf contains 12 actions for implementation with EU member countries and identifies 7 areas where measures are most necessary:

  • making sure antimicrobials are used appropriately in both humans and animals
  • preventing microbial infections and their spread
  • developing new effective antimicrobials or alternatives for treatment
  • cooperating with international partners to contain the risks of AMR
  • improving monitoring and surveillance in human and animal medicine
  • promoting research and innovation
  • improving communication, education and training.

The Commission has compiled a detailed overview of the 12 Actions covered by the Action planpdf(295 KB), including the operational objectives, the concrete activities and the deadlines.

Promotion and support

The Commission funds several antimicrobial resistance projects Choose translations of the previous link български (bg) čeština (cs) dansk (da) Deutsch (de) eesti keel (et) ελληνικά (el) español (es) français (fr) italiano (it) latviešu valoda (lv) lietuvių kalba (lt) magyar (hu) Malti (mt) Nederlands (nl) polski (pl) português (pt) română (ro) slovenčina (sk) slovenščina (sl) suomi (fi) svenska (sv)  through its Health Programme and monitors AMR risks with the support of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the European Food Safety Authority.

In 2011, the transatlantic task force on antimicrobial resistance published recommendations for future collaboration between the US and EUpdf.