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RCGP Backs WHO Antibiotic Priority List to Fight Resistance

The Royal College of General practitioners (RCGP) has welcomed the new advice on the use and prescribing of antibiotics to tackle common infections released by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

On 6th June 2017, the WHO has published new guidelines on medicines for HIV, hepatitis C, tuberculosis and leukaemia that add 30 medicines for adults and 25 for children, whilst also specifying new uses for nine already listed products. This bring the total to 433 drugs deemed essential for addressing the most important public health needs.

The new updated WHO Essential Medicines List (EML) will help to crack down on unnecessary antibiotic use and preserve vital treatments against the rising threat of antibiotic resistance. Many countries used the EML to increase access to medicines and guide decisions about which products they ensure are available for their populations.

The Director of essential medicines and health products at WHO, Dr Suzanne Hill said that the new WHO list should help health system planners and prescribers ensure people who need antibiotics have access to them, and ensure they get the right one, so that the problem of resistance doesn’t get worse.

Responding to the update, Chair of the RCGP, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said that the increasing resistance to antibiotics is a serious threat to patients’ health worldwide, so RCGP welcome the World Health Organisation taking action to help curb this.

She further added that the new updated EML should be useful in GPs daily practice. GPs and other prescribers must have access to new guidance and tools that help medical professional prescribe safely for all conditions, in the best interests of individual patients and public health globally.

WHO Assistant Director General for Health Systems and Innovation, Dr Marie-Paule Kieny said that the Safe and effective medicines are an essential part of any health system. In order to progress universal health coverage, it is very important to make sure that all people can access the medicines they need, when and where they need them.

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