Angela Merkel Statement on Resistance to Antibiotics

68th session of the WHO World Health Assembly in Geneva on 18 May 2015

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, called on all countries to take steps to curb the spread of antibiotic resistance.

The third issue that Germany would like to address during its G7 Presidency is resistance to antibiotics. We have obtained the advice of the National Academies of Sciences on this issue – and indeed on the subject of neglected tropical diseases. I think this is an issue of crucial importance for the entire human race – for people in developed and less developed countries alike. We must ensure that existing antibiotics remain effective, and that they are used only when medically necessary – not only when treating humans, but animals as well. To this end we want to agree on the strictest standards possible at the G7 meeting, in particular for industrialised countries.

Antibiotics have to be used restrictively, because once pathogens have become resistant to them, it is much, much harder to develop new treatments – in contrast to the situation for example with neglected tropical diseases. The pharmaceutical industry is an important partner in the fight against disease, but it can only provide new products through research and development. I have been told how difficult it is to develop new varieties of antibiotics to replace the old ones. We must therefore tread carefully if we are to make progress. We must pursue a “one health” approach for both humans and animals.

I am delighted that the World Health Assembly has undertaken to draw up the first global action plan to address the problem of antimicrobial resistance. Every country should have a plan of this sort. Only a few days ago the German Cabinet adopted its own antimicrobial resistance strategy. It will require close cooperation in the fields of human and veterinary medicine. ”

Sources and more information

  • Statement by Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel at the 68th session of the WHO World Health Assembly in Geneva on 18 May 2015, WHO Media centre, 18 May 2015.
  • WHO: WHA 68 – Speech by Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, World Health Organization (WHO), 20 May 2015.

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