The Guardian – June 1, 2018
Leaked documents reveal discarded proposals to ward off antibiotic resistance through closer scrutiny of drug firms.
The EU has scrapped plans for a clampdown on pharmaceutical pollution that contributes to the spread of deadly superbugs.
Plans to monitor farm and pharmaceutical companies, to add environmental standards to EU medical product rules and to oblige environmental risk assessments for drugs used by humans have all been discarded, leaked documents seen by the Guardian reveal.
An estimated 700,000 people die every year from antimicrobial resistance, partly due to drug-resistant bacteria created by the overuse, misuse and dumping of antibiotics.
The UK’s chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, has warned that failing to act could lead to a post-antibiotic apocalypse, spelling “the end of modern medicine” as routine infections defy effective treatment.
Some studies predict that antimicrobial resistance could cost $100tn (£75tn) between now and 2050, with the annual death toll reaching 10 million over that period.
An EU strategy for pharmaceuticals in the environment was supposed to propose ways to avert the threat, but leaked material shows that a raft of ideas contained in an early draft have since been diluted or deleted.