Antibiotic resistance: a call for global action

Posted on Friday, July 24, 2015

Antibiotic resistance (ABR) is a global health threat requiring strong collective action. The Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics has published a series of eleven articles on the action required, and the tools needed to achieve it. University of Ottawa Professor Steven J. Hoffman, an expert on transnational health threats and director of uOttawa's Global Strategy Lab, co-authored five of the articles. They explore the mechanisms, instruments and forums available for achieving global collective action on ABR, with specific perspectives on accountability, legal approaches and analysis of similar global problems.

“A comprehensive solution to antibiotic resistance is one that improves access to existing antibiotics for the millions of people who currently die in need of them, conserves the effectiveness of existing antibiotics and fosters innovation of new antibiotics to improve upon and replace those that no longer work. If we don't do something quickly, millions of lives and trillions of dollars are at stake," says Hoffman.

The series sought input from experts from a diverse range of academic and professional disciplines with unique perspectives on advancing global health. Articles in the series aim to provide evidence-informed guidance on how states and non-state actors can muster a comprehensive response to the global threat of ABR. How do we address the threat of antibiotic resistance (ABR), when drug-resistant diseases can spread across borders through something as simple as travel? What legal, political, and economic tools are needed to achieve appropriate action?

“The good news is that antimicrobial resistance is starting to get attention at the highest political levels,” says Professor Hoffman. “We can achieve real progress by working together across countries and using the full range of international legal mechanisms.”

Series preparation was supported by the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and ReAct – Action on Antibiotic Resistance.

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