Hospital Pharmacists and Combatting Infectious Diseases and Antimicrobial Resistance

EAHP advocates for the prudent use of antimicrobial drugs through antibiotic stewardship to ensure efficient therapy for patients with life-threatening infections.

EAHP Position Paper on Infectious Diseases and Antimicrobial Resistance

Combatting infectious diseases requires the implementation of a comprehensive intervention package comprised of measures including but not limited to prudent anti-infective use, vaccination and stewardship. To maintain the efficacy of antimicrobial drugs and to prevent the further spread of antimicrobial resistance, it is essential to have an interprofessional approach in the healthcare setting and during the transition of care. Hospital pharmacists in Europe are ready to champion infection prevention and contribute and promote the prudent use of antimicrobials through the enforcement of antimicrobial stewardship. To improve patient outcomes proactive steps need to be taken.

The Position Paper covers three main areas: (i) stewardship - highlighting the need to strengthen the prudent use of antimicrobials in human medicine and the need for further implementation of Antimicrobial Stewardship Programmes; (ii) the One Health Approach - relating to investing in prevention measures and having adequate use of antimicrobials in veterinary medicine and intensive livestock farming; and (iii) incentives - addressing the lack of antibiotic development and keeping old and established but still essential antibiotics on the market.

Consequently, EAHP

  • calls on national governments and health system managers to use the specialised background and knowledge of the hospital pharmacist in multi-professional antimicrobial stewardship teams or other forms of antimicrobial governance in the hospital and in the community.
  • requires that hospital pharmacists are an integral part in the transfer of care to ensure that the patient care started in hospitals can be continued in the community.
  • asks for the inclusion of concrete measures, like the outcome measures provided by the Transatlantic Taskforce on Antimicrobial Resistance, in national action plans that increase the uptake of stewardship teams.
  • calls for further consolidating the role of hospital pharmacists in European vaccination strategies.
  • recommends the universal application of prevention and control measures by ECDC and WHO among healthcare professionals and the public in the fight against infectious diseases.
  • advocates for adequate regulatory oversight and proper implementation of measures in the veterinary sector and the environment at global, European, national and local levels.
  • demands increased investment to support the development of innovative proposals and the encouragement of research projects in new fields of infectious disease control such as immunotherapy and sustainability.
  • urges governments to make arrangements so that essential antibiotics in dosage forms and strengths appropriate for both adults and children will be maintained on the market with contingency stock level arrangements and alternative production by hospital pharmacists enabled where necessary.

EAHP's Position Paper on Infectious Diseases and Antimicrobial Resistance is available HERE

ECDC Survey of healthcare workers' knowledge, attitudes and behaviours on antibiotics, antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance in the EU/EEA

In 2019, ECDC collected information via a first-of-its kind survey on European healthcare workers' knowledge and attitudes about antibiotics. The results for all healthcare workers' were made available by ECDC during the European Antibiotic Awareness Day on 18th November 2019.

1204 hospital pharmacists from the European Union (EU)/European Economic Area (EEA) participated in the survey. The hospital pharmacy specific data presented by EAHP was kindly shared by ECDC in order to disseminate it to a wider audience. The survey questions explored both the extend of the participants knowledge about antibiotics, their appropriate use, possible risks and side effects, as well as how informed, involved and supported hospital pharmacists felt in their efforts in promoting prudent use of antibiotics.

Overall it can be concluded that the hospital pharmacists that participated in the study on healthcare workers' knowledge and attitudes about antibiotics and antibiotic resistance have a good knowledge about their prudent use. Areas for improvement that were identified included increasing the provision of advice to patients, enhancing the uptake of antibiotic stewardship teams in hospitals and continuing to ensure that the knowledge about resistance and the prudent use of hospital pharmacists remains up to date.

EAHP's analyse of hospital pharmacists' knowledge, attitudes and behaviours on antibiotics, antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance can be accessed HERE.

ECDC has made available useful resources for healthcare professionals working in hospitals. These include:

EAHP contributed to European Commission's call for evidence on AMR

In February 2022 the European Commission (COM) put forward a call for evidence on Antimicrobial resistance for a proposal for a Council Recommendation which is expected in the last quarter of the year. It tries to do another push for the fight against AMR, by connecting the different initiatives on the theme. EAHP welcomed COM’s call for evidence focused on AMR, since it is in hospitals where the human cost of AMR is often felt the most. Infections can travel quickly within these institutions and the ability to prevent and treat infections is a key factor for halting unnecessary complications and deaths. It is essential that supporting hospitals to tackle the threat of AMR is included in a ‘One Health’ approach. For EAHP the European-wide application of antimicrobial stewardship teams is paramount for curbing the inappropriate use of antibiotics. Based on the success of the Dutch example where these teams already exist, EAHP encouraged the COM to put a strong emphasis on the establishment and implementation of antimicrobial stewardship teams in all EU hospitals to achieve the aim of the initiative seeking to strengthen patient safety. In this sense, it is important to note that EAHP created an Open Learning course titled “Antibiotic stewardship advanced” discusses the role of clinical pharmacists in antibiotic stewardship.

Last update: 25 August 2023