Hospital Pharmacists and Combatting 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 antimicrobial resistance

The escalating threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global public health concern and now seriously jeopardises the effectiveness of standard treatments, rendering some ineffective for their approved indications. EAHP calls on national governments and health system managers to utilise the specialised background and knowledge of the hospital pharmacists in multi-professional antibiotic stewardship teams. This includes enabling and promoting the profession to make direct interventions within multidisciplinary care teams such as reviewing antibiotic duration, advising on the cessation of inappropriate antibiotic treatments, and educating other healthcare professionals on the restricted use of certain antibiotics.

In relation to new antibiotics EAHP urges increased investment to support the development of innovative proposals and the encouragement of practice-based research projects to investigate new fields of infectious disease control such as immunotherapy and to optimise the cost-effectiveness of systems for surveillance on antibiotic use and resistance. Moreover, governments should make arrangements to maintain essential antibiotics on the market with contingency stock level arrangements and to enable alternative production by hospital pharmacists where necessary.

In addition, to the strengthening of antimicrobial stewardship in human medicine and the importance of research and development, EAHP' position paper recommends the universal application of infection prevention and control measures by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) among healthcare professionals.

In relation to the One Health approach of the European Commission, EAHP strongly supports regulatory oversight and proper implementation of measures in the veterinary and agriculture sectors on European, national and local level.

EAHP's position paper on 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: 1 September 2022