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Publication - published on 20 Aug 2020

BSAC: How can we ensure the pharma industry protects the supply of essential medicines during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond?

As the COVID-19 pandemic deepens and more patients across the globe enter hospitals with symptoms of the virus and secondary bacterial infections, the appropriate use of antibiotics is now more critical than ever. 

In this viewpoint for the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC), Margo Warren, Government Engagement and Policy Manager for the Access to Medicine Foundation, explores how the overuse of antibiotics could spur another global health crisis.

Concerns over the impact of COVID-19 on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) are mounting. Studies on hospitalised COVID-19 patients have shown that while 72% of patients received antibiotics, only 8% demonstrated superimposed bacterial or fungal co-infections. This overuse of antibiotics contributes to the rise of superbugs, which unchecked could lead to another global health crisis. 

While the pharmaceutical industry is now working towards new treatments and vaccines targeting COVID-19, this is only one part of the puzzle. It also must ensure a sufficient global supply of essential medicines, including antibiotics — and help achieve fair and equitable access to both new and older products. At the Access to Medicine Foundation, we have been tracking and evaluating the actions of companies in this area for more than ten years, to help stimulate and guide the industry to improve access to medicine.

Read the full article on BSAC

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