Pfizer helps to prevent and combat the global public health threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

by - November 10, 2018

Have you seen this notice whenever you go to a drugstore, fact is there’s good reason why every drugstore in the country put up this sign. In a world where it easy to buy medicines just like buying a candy from a store, there’s a threat we need to be aware and it is a threat much bigger than we thought of -  the Threat of Antimicrobial Resistance.

Pfizer Philippines,  in recognition of World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) 2018, reaffirms its commitment to working with industry partners, healthcare professionals, and policymakers to Pfizer helps to prevent and combat the global public health threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

AMR currently accounts for 700,000 fatalities per year globally.[i]Experts agree that if no action is taken, AMR is estimated to result in approximately 10 million deaths globally each year by 2050.1

AMR can affect anyone, of any age, in any country.2 It occurs when pathogens change and find ways to resist the effects of antibiotics. The pathogens survive, grow, and spread their resistance.1 This process of adaptation leads to AMR.1

While becoming resistant to medications is part of the natural evolution of microorganisms, the resistance is facilitated and becomes even worse when antibiotics are inappropriately used.2 Common examples would be using antibiotics to treat a simple cold or flu, or not following the doctor’s order of finishing the course of therapy within a given timeframe.

If no solution is found, the consequences of AMR could be devastating. Minor infections and injuries could become life-threating, and serious infections such as pneumonia could become impossible to treat.1, 2 Further, many routine medical procedures could be too risky to perform because of the risk of becoming infected by a multi-drug resistant pathogenwhile in the hospital.1

Addressing the problem together

Collaboration is needed to fight antimicrobial resistance – from doctors who guide patients in their journey toward better health and prescribe them with the right antibiotics, to pharmacists who are in a unique position to encourage prudent use of these treatments, to the government which has the ability to push for policies that strengthen antibiotic stewardship programs nationwide, and to the patients who are responsible for taking the right antibiotics at the right dose and at the right time.

On the need to reach more Filipinos and inform them of the danger of inappropriate antibiotic use, Dr. Mario Panaligan, President of the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (PSMID), says, “Since their discovery, antibiotics have indeed served as the cornerstone of modern medicine. However, when they are misused or mishandled, the tendency is that organisms eventually become immune to its effects. This then results to antimicrobial resistance, which not many are aware of and that’s where the problem lies.”

Dispensing of antibiotics in drugstores has also become more stringent in recent years due to the health threats posed by AMR. Dr. Yolanda Robles, President of the Philippine Pharmacists Association, adds that pharmacists are instrumental in informing and reminding patients to take their antibiotics responsiblyat the pharmacy level, and they are working hand in hand with the government and other healthcare organizations to address the alarming situation of drug-resistant infections.

The Philippine government is also doing its part in addressingAMR. “There are increasing efforts by the government – we have ‘The Philippine Action Plan to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance: One Health Approach’ and the Manual of Procedures for Implementing Antimicrobial Stewardship Programs in Hospitals,” sharesDr. Regina Berba, who was a consultant for the Department of Health’s National Steering Committee of Antimicrobial Stewardship Program. “The government’s commitment to fighting AMR is important as they have the ability to shape and better our healthcare landscape.”

In addition to the efforts being undertaken by the infectious disease community, there are preventive measures that Filipino patients can take to mitigate AMR.

A patient taking antibiotics when not prescribed by the doctor can have dire consequences. Unknown to most, antibiotics – which target bacteria – are ineffective in treating the common cold, which is most often caused by a virus.When prescribed an antibiotic, it is essential to take it exactly as instructed by the doctor2 and to finish the course of medication without missing any doses, even when the patient already starts to feel better. Prevention is also important. Keep vaccinations up to date, wash hands regularly, and prepare food hygienically.2

As for pharmaceutical companies, boosting drug research and development is vital. Pfizer, one of the leading global providers of anti-infective medicines, is committed to expanding its diverse portfolio of antibiotics to address AMR.4 Pfizer also supports education efforts for both healthcare professionals and the general public, and creates innovative AMR surveillance tools such as the Antimicrobial Testing Leadership and Surveillance (ATLAS) database which provides physicians and the global health community with free access to critical data on the efficacy of various antibiotic treatments and emerging resistance patterns in more than 60 countries worldwide.5

“At Pfizer, we are driven by our desire to protect public health and address the medical needs of people suffering from different illnesses, including infectious diseases,” said Dr. Angelica Claveria, Pfizer Philippines Sr. Medical Manager.“We look forward to collaborating closely with different stakeholders to develop solutions and share resources to help reduce the impact of AMR for a healthier Philippines.”

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