Antibiotic resistance: CMOs sign pledge encouraging appropriate use of antibiotics

13 October 2017 .
  • Global Chief Medical Officers’ Network, powered by Bupa, is taking action to tackle increasing resistance to antibiotics
  • Antibiotic resistance is now one of the biggest threats to global health
  • Pledge comes as the topic is the focus of global conference in Berlin.

Members of the Global Chief Medical Officers’ (CMO) Network have signed a pledge on antimicrobial resistance that urges companies to support the appropriate use of antibiotics, as resistance is on the rise. The CMO Network is a group of some of the world’s largest employers, powered by Bupa.

Antimicrobial resistance – when bacteria no longer responds to the antibiotics designed to kill them – is one of the biggest threats to global health. It can lead to longer hospital stays, higher medical costs and increased rates of mortality. 

Around half of all antibiotics are prescribed for the wrong reason , which is speeding up resistance. The pledge includes several achievable actions that can change everyday behaviour to make a real impact and better support the health and wellbeing of those around us. Visit the antimicrobial resistance initiative page for more information, including an FAQ on antibiotic resistance.

Dr Paul Zollinger-Read, Bupa’s Chief Medical Officer, said: “Modern medicine relies on antimicrobials – and antibiotics in particular. They treat life-threatening infections and are vital to many medical advances, from basic surgery, to heart transplants and chemotherapy.But, as bacteria develop resistance, antibiotics are starting to fail.”

Actions encouraged in the pledge include not requesting antibiotics when clinicians advise they are not needed, and not sharing or using leftover antibiotics. It also covers preventing infection through regularly washing hands, keeping vaccinations up to date and preparing food hygienically.

Dr Zollinger–Read added: “Without urgent action, we are heading for an era where common infections and minor injuries could once again kill. We urge companies and organisations to join us in signing the pledge, and take steps to preserve the power of antibiotics for generations to come.”

Companies in the Global CMO Network include Unilever, GSK and IBM, and employ around eight million people combined. Each signatory has committed to take action to support global efforts to dramatically reduce the volume of antibiotics which are misused and, in turn, slow resistance.  

Elizabeth Hermsen, Head of Global Antimicrobial Stewardship, Merck, said: “The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Antimicrobial Resistance Action Plan and various country-level action plans have called for multi-sector stakeholder collaboration to address the global public health threat of AMR. This pledge from the CMO Network is an exemplar of how the private sector can help to conserve the precious, shared resource of antibiotics through relatively easy, actionable approaches that any company could implement."

Murray Stewart, Chief Medical Officer, GSK, said: “Antibiotic resistance is a huge concern for society. We need to ensure future drug development continues to find novel ways of tackling this problem, and avoid the potential clinical consequences of morbidity and mortality.”

Bupa is taking urgent action to educate employees and customers worldwide on this issue, in order to support their health and wellbeing and to help them live longer, healthier, happier lives.

Notes to editor

For further information please contact:

Aaron Bains, Senior Press Officer, Bupa 
T: +44 (0)20 7656 2892 E:

The CMO Network

The global Chief Medical Officers’ (CMO) Network is a group of over 50 world-leading clinicians, powered by Bupa, which is committed to bringing about a lasting improvement to people’s health.

Together, they can leverage their combined insight, experience and global reach to solve some of the world’s biggest health problems through workplace health initiatives.

The network comprises Chief Medical Officers from some of the world’s most innovative businesses who have collective responsibility of a workforce of over eight million people.

For further information read the previous CMO Network reports.

About Bupa

Bupa's purpose is helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives.

With no shareholders, our customers are our focus. We reinvest profits into providing more and better healthcare for the benefit of current and future customers.

Health insurance accounts for the major part of our business with 15.7m customers and contributes over 70% of revenue. We operate clinics, dental centres and hospitals in some markets, with 15m customers. We care for around 23,000 residents in our UK, Australia, New Zealand and Spain aged care businesses.

We directly employ around 80,000 people, principally in the UK, Australia, Spain, Poland, Chile, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Turkey, the US, Brazil, the Middle East and Ireland. We also have associate businesses in Saudi Arabia and India.

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