Using Antibiotics in EU - an Analysis of EU Governmental Strategies Regarding Reducing the Use of Antibiotics within the EU

Carsten Strøby Jensen

Antibiotic resistance is set to be one of the 21st century's greatest health challenges. In a number of articles The Lancet has considered issues related to antibiotics and presented equivalent warnings. In 2013, The Lancet wrote:"The causes of antibiotic resistance are complex and include human behaviour at many levels of society; the consequences affect everybody in the world. … Antibiotics paved the way for unprecedented medical and societal developments, and are today indispensible in all health systems … Within just a few years, we might be faced with dire setbacks, medically, socially, and economically, unless real and unprecedented global coordinated actions are immediately taken." (The Lancet, November, 2013).The paper will analyze EU-Commission strategies regarding developing a common European regulation of use of antibiotics in order to reduce risk of developing antibiotic resistance. Use of antibiotics is primarily regulated at national level. This is the case both within the human and the veterinarian sector. A consequence of the governmental structure is that the use of antibiotics and the level of antibiotic resistance differs a lot within the European Union. However resistance tends to move across boarders despite differences in national forms of regulation. During the last five years EU has taken a number of initiatives in order to reduce the use of antibiotics both within the human and veterinarian sector. The commission has launched an 'Action plan against the rising threats from antimicrobial resistance'. All in all the governmental instruments at European level is however quite weak. The paper will analyse how the Commission have tried to increase its powerbase at European level in order to be able to initiate common regulation of antibiotic use at European level.

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