Doctors, pharmacists and government representatives meet to discuss responsible use of antimicrobials

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute of Infection and Immunity hosted a forum on the responsible use of antimicrobials in Toronto on November 17 and 18, 2016. The event, which took place during World Antibiotic Awareness Week, was made possible by the support of Merck Canada Inc.

The responsible use of antimicrobials, also known as antimicrobial stewardship, is significant because antimicrobial resistance (AMR) – a situation when microbes like bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change so that drugs that were previously effective against them stop working – is often the consequence of inappropriate antimicrobial use – say, when a doctor prescribes antibiotics to a person with a viral infection like a cold or a flu, or when farmers use them to promote growth in their livestock.

Attendees at the forum included representatives from government organizations, research institutions and industry.

“This forum was a great opportunity for researchers to come together with government and industry to find innovative strategies to bridge the gaps that remain in ensuring people use antimicrobials in a responsible way,” said Dr. Marc Ouellette, Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Infection and Immunity and host of the forum. “By collaborating, we can help slow the pace of antimicrobial resistance, lessen the burden on the health care system, and save lives.”

Attendees had a chance to hear panel discussions and participate in breakout sessions focused on topics such as the economic case for developing antibacterial drugs, the potential uses of technology and diagnostic tools to monitor the responsible use of antibiotics, challenges faced by stakeholders in the antimicrobial stewardship community, and new strategies to raise public awareness of how to use antimicrobials responsibly.

A post-forum report highlighting what government, researchers and industry can do to ensure the responsible use of antibiotics is being prepared and will be made public in the near future.

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