Antibiotic resistance has increased in the past years to the point that now constitutes a serious risk to public health, according to leading European health professionals.

It comes just after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) reported that sales of antibiotics for use in animals fell overall by 15% between 2010 and 2012 in Europe. Its figures show that of the 20 European countries that provided data over this timespan, 18 observed decreases ranging from 0.4% to 49%.

However, the President of the European Veterinary Organisation (FVE) Dr Christophe Buhot said this week that the lack of effectiveness of existing antibiotics combined with the lack of new antibiotic treatments raises serious concerns and demands a joint response.

Speaking, as part of a joint European health professionals body, he said primary prescribers play a crucial role and must raise be prudent and responsible in the use of antibiotics.

Being in direct contact with patients on a daily basis, they are best placed to advice on patients’ need for antibiotics, he said. 

With seven recommendations, the European health professionals are trying to raise awareness to primary care prescribers on the prudent and responsible use of antibiotics.

“Veterinarians together with the other health professions are the gatekeepers of the public health. This is why it is so important to ensure that all of us – doctors, dentists and veterinarians – are equally committed to this goal and promote the same recommendations,”

The Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME) represents national medical associations across Europe and its President, Dr Katrín Fjeldsted, said it is crucial that healthcare professionals join forces to combat antimicrobial resistance.

“The joint recommendations issued are part of this collaborative exercise and we will continue to closely work together to promote prudent use of antibiotics.”