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Pfizer teams up with Indian Government to battle antimicrobial resistance

Published on 31/01/18 at 10:19am

Pfizer has entered into a partnership with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in an effort to fight antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in India, establishing a centre in New Delhi as part of the project.

The joint initiative will include AMR stewardship programmes for nursing homes, reinforcing and growing existing AMR surveillance efforts, as well as generating awareness around AMR and encouraging responsible use of antibiotics. Pfizer has provided an initial grant of Rs6.97 crore ($110,000) for the project, with the potential to inject more money as it expands.

The centre established in New Delhi will act as a hub from which interventions in the three key areas of stewardship, surveillance and awareness can be launched. The project will expand the ICMR’s Antimicrobial Stewardship Programme across the nation in phases, focusing on smaller in-patient centres such as small hospitals and nursing homes. Meanwhile, the initiative will also see the training of specialists to expand the existing India Surveillance Network to increase coverage of private and government hospitals and gather and analyse drug resistance data across the country. Representatives from the ICMR and Pfizer, as well as leading specialists in infectious disease and AMR, will sit on the initiative’s steering committee and advisory board.

The growing threat of AMR in India is making infections such pneumonia and tuberculosis increasingly difficult to effectively treat due to unnecessary use of antibiotics. In April last year, the Indian Government laid out its National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (NAP-AMR),a strategy outlining six priorities including improving awareness and surveillance and increasing investment in fighting AMR.

“It is important to channel all necessary resources in developing, implementing and monitoring antibiotic resistance to minimise its adverse impact, which poses a huge threat to both health and food security,” said Dr K VijayRaghavan, Secretary of the Department of Health Research & Director General, ICMR. “We must do all we can to prevent a scenario where common infections and minor injuries become difficult or impossible to treat.”

S Sridhar, Managing Director at Pfizer, added: “Since its pioneering contribution of mass producing penicillin in the 1940s, Pfizer has remained a leading anti-infectives company across the world. We, therefore, recognise that we play an important role in a collective effort to address AMR – one of the greatest public health challenges of our time.”

Matt Fellows

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