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Washington D.C. – The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) has joined the Antibiotic Resistance Coalition (ARC), an independent coalition of members from six continents working in health, agriculture, consumer, and development sectors. ARC advocates for policy change and action to prevent the post-antibiotic era from becoming a bleak reality.
Since its formation in 2014 ahead of the 67th World Health Assembly when the initial resolution to draft the global action plan on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) was adopted, ARC has amplified the voice of civil society across countries and sectors at various policy fora. Through coordinated efforts, the Coalition has engaged intergovernmental organizations and national governments on the development and implementation of the global action plan on AMR; briefed United Nations agencies, country missions, and other stakeholders in advance of the High-level Meeting on AMR; and called on stakeholders including food retailers and health facilities to change their sourcing practices towards curbing drug resistance.
U.S. PIRG is a non-partisan, non-profit organization working to implement concrete solutions to protect consumers in the marketplace and public health overall. Joining ARC will amplify U.S. PIRG’s efforts to move the American marketplace away from overusing antibiotics on livestock and poultry, and contribute to combatting antimicrobial resistance at the global level.
“ARC is forging ahead to address the critical health threat of antimicrobial resistance globally. We are eager to complement and amplify its efforts through stopping the overuse of antibiotics in the U.S. meat industry,” said Matthew Wellington, Field Director of the Antibiotics Program for U.S. PIRG.
Ahead of its formation, the founding organizations of ARC drafted the Declaration on Antibiotic Resistance, outlining a series of principles and actions necessary to “urgently avert the looming post-antibiotic catastrophe.” The Declaration addresses three key thematic areas including curbing excessive use while ensuring access for people in need; tackling excessive non-human use in food and agriculture; and developing an effective innovation system for new antibiotics, diagnostics, and other tools that support health, access and rational use. In this document, the Coalition also puts forward recommendations for international action and cooperation to be taken forward by governments and international organizations including the WHO, FAO, and OIE to effectively address and monitor progress towards curbing drug resistance across sectors. All members of the Coalition are signatories to the Declaration on Antibiotic Resistance, committing themselves to the principles and actions.
“True accountability comes from moving from words to deeds. But not all solution paths place the public's interest first nor lift up those in greatest need,” said Dr. Anthony So, Director of the ReAct-Action on Antibiotic Resistance Strategic Policy Program and IDEA (Innovation + Design Enabling Access) Initiative in the Department of International Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “What makes the voice of the Antibiotic Resistance Coalition important are their shared principles for ensuring equity and social justice in tackling AMR.”
Across several policy fora, ARC has called for international action and leadership to, in part promote new, needs-driven and open R&D models based on the principles of de-linkage (divorcing R&D costs from both price and sales volume), phase out the non-therapeutic use of antimicrobials in food animal production, and drive investment towards innovation of novel technologies as well as of novel stewardship practices that transform healthcare delivery and enable sustainable agricultural systems.
The members of the Coalition also work together to hold other key stakeholders accountable in addressing AMR. Organizations including Consumers International, Food Animal Concerns Trust, NRDC, and US PIRG have led the global call urging food retailers to source food animal products raised without the routine use of antibiotics. Other organizations such as Health Care Without Harm and NRDC have worked with healthcare facilities and schools around the globe to change their procurement practices to address AMR. ARC members such as Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics, MedAct, AMSA, US PIRG, among others also work closely with health professionals to raise awareness on the multisectoral nature of drug resistance and promote the adoption of evidence-based stewardship guidelines.
U.S. PIRG is a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society. For decades, we’ve stood up for consumers, countering the influence of big banks, insurers, chemical manufacturers and other powerful special interests.
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