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Parliamentary questions
10 May 2017
Answer given by Mr Andriukaitis on behalf of the Commission

1. As highlighted in the European Food Safety Authority opinion(1), a multi-faceted approach is needed to reduce the use of antimicrobials (AM) in animal husbandry including the development of national strategies; harmonised systems for monitoring AM use; prudent use of AM by veterinarians and farmers and increasing the availability of rapid and reliable diagnostics. The Commission is currently examining how to follow-up to the 2011 Action Plan against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)(2) in order to address properly these issues.

2. Since 1999, the Commission has invested more than EUR 1.3 billion in AMR research, including alternatives to AM such as vaccines, phages, phytotherapy or probiotics. Under the most recent EU Programmes for research and innovation, several projects on AMR have been funded. For instance, the currently running project EFFORT aims at providing knowledge on the ecology and transfer of antimicrobial resistant bacteria throughout the food chain but also studies strategies to reduce the use of AM in farming systems(3).

The Commission continues to support research on AMR under Horizon 2020, with for instance two topics open in the 2017 call, respectively on a European Joint Programme ‘Co-Fund on “One Health” (zoonoses — emerging threats)’ that will have an important component on AMR, and on ‘Alternative production system to address AM drug usage, animal welfare and the impact on health’(4).

3. In most cases, antibiotics in humans are used for acute infections for less than two weeks. Exceptions however exist such as the treatment of difficult infections (e.g. endocarditis) and chronic treatment for cystic fibrosis patients. The Commission has not assigned studies on the long-term use of antibiotics in humans.

(2)COM (2011) 748.
(4)SFS-36-2017 and SFS-46-2017 in the work programme 2016/17 of Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge 2 https://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/data/ref/h2020/wp/2016_2017/main/h2020-wp1617-food_en.pdf

Last updated: 18 May 2017Legal notice