There are an increasing number of bacteria immune to regular drugs. G7 nations have now agreed on several measures they hope will contain antibiotic resistance.
Concluding their two-day conference in Berlin, health ministers from G7 nations said in the future antibiotics should only be prescribed for therapeutic purposes and after individual diagnosis. They added that the drugs should be require prescriptions for humans as well as animals.
Antibiotic resistance could lead to a "creeping but dramatic development," German Health Minister Hermann Gröhe said. "We want to counteract that."
They also want more harmonization in for new drugs' regulatory procedures and conditions for market entry. This, they said would make new antibiotics available sooner.
The ministers did not agree on economic incentives for the pharmaceutical industry to encourage research and the development of new antibiotics and diagnostic tools. The issue is, however, being looked into with a possible solution being the creation of a global antibiotics research funds.
"Diseases know no borders," Gröhe said. Countries with weaker healthcare systems are to receive support to come up with national action plans to arrive at stricter rules for a proper use of antibiotics.
According to international estimates, 700,000 people die each year from multiresistant bacteria, which are immune to several antibiotic classes at the same time. Costs related to antibiotic resistance in the EU are estimated at 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) each year.
bo, cb/sms (Reuters, epd)