[T]onight, I am formally launching the AMR Challenge, a year-long global call to action to accelerate progress in the fight against antimicrobial resistance. This challenge invites stakeholders across the public and private sectors and around the world to identify ways in which they can contribute to the fight against AMR, both locally and globally.
As Prepared for Delivery
I’d like to extend my personal welcome, and that of the U. S. government, to everyone who’s joined us here tonight. I know there are many events vying for your attention this week, so we appreciate your being here. It’s a testament to the importance of what we’re here to discuss, antimicrobial resistance.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has made AMR a priority in both our domestic and global work, and it is a priority for the entire U.S. government.
Antibiotics have brought us so many medical and public health advances, from safe surgery and safer childbirth to the treatment of cancer through chemotherapy. The emergence and rapid spread of antimicrobial resistance threatens to undo this progress, at enormous human and economic cost.
No one is immune from this threat. While the exact burden varies, high levels of resistance have been found across sectors and in every region of the world.
Here in the United States, drug-resistant bacteria infect 2 million people every year, and more than 20 thousand people die as a result.
Aggressive global action is needed to slow the development of new resistance, prevent the spread of existing resistance, and spur the development of new antimicrobial products.
The United States has made significant investments in research and development to combat AMR. Along with partners, we’re working to improve antibiotic use and accelerate the development of new drugs, diagnostics and vaccines, while ensuring access to these innovations worldwide.
Following the 2016 High-Level Meeting on AMR, remarkable progress has been made in strengthening global coordination through the Tripartite. The U.S. appreciates the efforts of WHO, OIE, FAO, UNEP, and others in leading this work and welcomes continued partnership at the global level.
But we need to go further.
Toward that end, tonight, I am formally launching the AMR Challenge, a year-long global call to action to accelerate progress in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.
This challenge invites stakeholders across the public and private sectors and around the world to identify ways in which they can contribute to the fight against AMR, both locally and globally.
In 2015, the United States convened a similar challenge at the national level. Three years on, we have seen the impact of many of those commitments, and you’ll have the chance to hear about some of these achievements during tonight’s showcase.
Already, we have more than 100 organizations and governments that have stepped up to join this global AMR Challenge, so I want to highlight a few of them now.
The AMR Alliance, which represents more than 100 pharmaceutical companies, agreed earlier in 2018 on a framework that promotes responsible antibiotic manufacturing. Last week, these companies took a further step by publishing the first list of targets to guide environmental risk assessments regarding the discharge of antibiotics and their residue.
We also have successful public-private investment partnerships in this space. CARB-X will invest $80 million globally during the next year to support more than 40 product developers as they pursue new drug classes, new diagnostics, and new treatment alternatives and vaccines. Each award agreement will include commitments to access and stewardship to ensure proper use of these life-saving innovations.
We have also seen commitments from healthcare providers. Systems that provide care at more than 20,000 healthcare facilities in the U.S. and abroad have committed to improving antibiotic stewardship, and hundreds have also committed to reducing infections.
Professional clinical societies, representing more than a quarter million providers across U.S. healthcare settings, are committed to improving antibiotic stewardship among their members.
Individual corporations have stepped up, too: Walmart U.S. is working with its animal protein suppliers to report antibiotic use throughout its supply chain. They will also conduct block chain projects to improve responsible antibiotic use in farm animals, impacting their 5,000-plus locations across America.
Petco has committed to not allowing prophylactic use of antibiotics in its supply chain, and supporting veterinary oversight for access to antibiotics at its 1,500 locations across the country.
Many of those who made commitments are here tonight, so I want to personally thank you and applaud you for stepping up. We’re grateful for your leadership, and hope you will encourage others to join in this important endeavor.
If you have yet to make a commitment, I urge you to consider what kind of commitment you could make to protect people, animals and the environment around the world from this terrible threat.
Next year at the General Assembly, I look forward to marking the end of this 12-month challenge and celebrating the progress we have made.
The threat of AMR is real and looming. Indeed, part of the promise of modern medicine itself is at stake.
But together, with every country and sector doing its part, we can keep future generations safe. So thank you again for your commitments and for joining us in that fight.