BSAC responds to WHO Global Report on Antibiotic Resistance

The British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC) has today welcomed publication of the World Health Organisation (WHO) first report on the global status of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) . We are especially pleased to see that the report has a specific focus on antibiotic (antibacterial) resistance. This report reveals the magnitude of the problem and that there are numerous gaps in knowledge.


Dr Nicholas Brown, President of BSAC and Consultant Microbiologist, Addenbrooke’s Hospital Cambridge said:  “BSAC commends the WHO report. We hope that the global work programme under development will provide the framework through which governments worldwide will take responsibility and make funding available to initiate steps to protect the few antibiotics we have that remain effective against resistant bacteria. We also hope that this framework will be the mechanism by which appropriate use of antibiotics across all sectors, people and animals, can be achieved.”


In response to this WHO report, BSAC specifically calls for the following:


  • Establishment of a fully funded global mandatory surveillance programme and global / region specific action plans to monitor and contain antimicrobial resistance.
  • National and international strategies to significantly reduce, and eventually halt, the over the counter availability of antibiotics globally.
  • Systems by which to investigate, monitor and report on the effects of non-human use of antibiotics (e.g. in agriculture) on antimicrobial resistance in humans.
  • To work towards ensuring all healthcare and veterinary professional courses worldwide include the diagnosis, management and control of infection, and the use of antibiotics.
  • For the WHO to swiftly identify how it can work collaboratively with learned societies and likewise organisations across the globe to benefit and build on the wealth of accumulated knowledge and experience that already exists.


Professor Laura Piddock, BSAC Chair in Public Engagement, Director of Antibiotic Action and Professor of Microbiology, University of Birmingham said:  “This report aptly demonstrates why initiatives such as Antibiotic Action are so important.  It adds to a long list of reports published by many in the last ten years about this crisis, what is now needed is action – hopefully this report will provide the impetus.  The world needs to respond as it did to the AIDs crisis of the 1980s. To do this, we need to be ambitious to succeed – moves such as a fully funded mandatory global surveillance programme will document the size of the problem and funded public education will help minimise use – but these are just starting points. We still need a better understanding of all aspects of resistance as well as new discovery, research and development of new antibiotics


She continued: “Defeating drug resistance will require political will, commitment from all stakeholders, and considerable financial investment in research, surveillance and stewardship programmes.  For many years there has been a reliance on work funded by learned societies and other charities – such as the BSAC resistance surveillance programme which is now in its 15th year – to provide data by which to map antimicrobial resistance and emerging resistance.  Such programmes are invaluable but they are also expensive to maintain and, to have global impact, need to be funded from the ‘public purse’ so that their successes and value can be replicated to make the global difference that is needed. As funding from UK government agencies for research on antibiotics has continually dwindled (last year it was only 0.7% of available UK research funding) there needs to be a significant increase in national and global funding to be able to address this public health crisis.”


A copy of the above response, notes and press contact information can be downloaded here:

BSAC Press release and response to the WHO Global Report on Antimicrobial Resistance – 30 April 2014

The high level press interest following the BSAC’s response can be viewed here:

Press coverage following BSAC response