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World TB day

26 Mar, 14 | by ltempler

Speaking on World Tuberculosis Day on the 24th March, Dr Roberto Frontini, President of the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP), called for better patient counselling, antimicrobial stewardship and new antibiotic development in order to successfully eliminate the disease as a public health concern in Europe by 2050.

With recent data published by the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) showing European health systems still facing problems in treating multidrug-resistant TB successfully, Dr Frontini reiterated the need to utilise the role of hospital pharmacists in providing both counselling about medication use and antimicrobial stewardship services, and for European Governments to work together in incentivising and facilitating the development of new antibiotics.

Dr Frontini said:

“A major factor in the development of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) has been non-adherence to treatment. Yet with TB being an infectious and contagious disease, adherence takes on that extra importance. Hospital pharmacists have a pivotal role to play both in improving adherence through patient counselling, but also in improving prescribing and treatment through multidisciplinary collaboration. I urge policy makers overseeing national responses to the TB challenge in Europe to grasp the opportunities before them by advancing the pharmacist role in these areas.

Further to this, many countries have now instituted policy measures to ensure hospital pharmacists have prominent roles in antimicrobial stewardship. This occurs to me as the right policy response given the gravity of the antimicrobial resistance problem and I encourage other countries to give such measures serious consideration.

Finally, alongside reducing inappropriate use of antibiotics, there is a clear need to scale up the search for new agents. European Governments must accept the urgency of this challenge and work together to create an improved environment for discovery. Whilst this includes the EU’s Horizon 2020 research programme and the Innovative Medicines Initiative, the new Commission scheduled for late 2014 should review what further improvements can be made.”

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