Leaders gather to further discuss antibiotic stewardship

Industry leaders met this week in Washington, D.C., to continue discussion around antibiotic resistance and stewardship.

Last June, leaders from across human and animal health gathered at the White House Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship to improve antibiotic stewardship and to protect long-term effectiveness of antibiotics. Building on the collaboration created at that event, Elanco Animal Health, a division of Eli Lilly & Co., facilitated the One Health Antibiotic Stewardship Summit for global industry and food chain leaders this week in Washington, D.C.

The invitation-only event brought together leaders from the World Health Organization, the World Organization for Animal Health, World Wildlife Fund, the Gates Foundation and Pew Charitable Trusts, as well as food company leaders and livestock producers. Represented at the event were all six animal species and an estimated 60% of the global protein production.

Jim Collins, thought leader and best-selling author of titles such as "Good to Great and Built to Last," provided insights on creating a long-term sustainable food chain by focusing on transformative goals.

Mark Kramer, one of the creators of the shared value concept, brought a unique lens to help participants reframe the challenge, which is that of how responsible use of antibiotics and development of viable alternatives can lead to improved social and environmental impact as well as greater business value for the food chain.

With an innovative, shared-value approach, participants engaged in three working sessions aimed at creating policy and practice recommendations and bringing greater clarity to the discussion. The sessions included:

• Veterinary Oversight and Capacity Improvement chaired by Dr. Rene Carlson, DVM and president, World Veterinary Assn. Given the significant gap in veterinary availability and training in some developing countries, and even in parts of the U.S., today, this session explored ideas and recommendations to increase veterinary capacity globally.

• Practices of Judicious Use, Principles and Measurement chaired by Karin Hoelzer, DVM, Ph.D., officer of health programs, The Pew Charitable Trusts. This working group identified fundamental principles of responsible use and appropriate and transparent metrics for measurement.

• Pathways for Innovation and New Solutions for Current Needs chaired by Carel du Marchie Sarvaas, executive director Health for Animals. This working group identified potential pathways to expedite approvals of new solutions that can enhance animal health and limit antimicrobial resistance development and impact.

“This is a complex issue, but it’s broader than just antibiotic resistance. It’s ultimately about One Health – human health, animal health and the health of our planet are all inextricably linked,” said Jeff Simmons, president, Elanco Animal Health. “Without all three, the entire system is compromised. Sick animals also jeopardize the safety, availability and affordability of our food, as well as expend precious natural resources. Human health requires healthy, productive animals.”

The event also included a progress update on Elanco’s multi-faceted eight–point plan to safeguard antibiotics for future generations while protecting animal well-being. The plan is designed to address the most pressing concerns around antibiotic use in livestock around the world. Key components to this plan include increasing responsible use, reducing shared class use (those antibiotics used both in humans and animals) and replacing antibiotics with alternatives to keep animals healthy.

“Today, approximately 20% of livestock are lost to disease, creating unnecessary animal suffering and a significant source of food waste and resources,” Simmons said. “This is a challenging endeavor, but we believe by working collaboratively across the food chain we can make a difference, shaping a positive future with better health outcomes for people, animals and the planet.”

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