Government of Canada supports development & point-of-care dissemination of national antimicrobial prescribing guidelines

Press Release

From: Public Health Agency of Canada

May 17, 2024

In Canada and across the world, microbes that cause infections are becoming increasingly resistant to the drugs designed to treat them – this is known as antimicrobial resistance (AMR). While AMR can happen naturally, the misuse and overuse of antimicrobials are accelerating its development and spread.

That is why today, the Honourable Mark Holland, Minister of Heath, announced funding of up to $843,225 over three years to support the development and dissemination of national antimicrobial prescribing guidelines for 25 different syndromes in humans. These guidelines would help optimize prescribing practices and reduce unnecessary or inappropriate use of antimicrobials in Canada, which is one of the key drivers of AMR.

The Association of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Disease Canada (AMMI Canada) will develop the new guidelines and Firstline, a Canadian technology platform, will disseminate the guidelines to health care providers at the point-of-care through a digital platform. Members of AMMI Canada and Firstline were instrumental in the creation and distribution of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) AWaRe antibiotic book, an evidence-based antimicrobial prescribing guidance document.

This investment is an important step forward in the work of the Pan-Canadian Action Plan (PCAP) on Antimicrobial Resistance, which was released in collaboration with provinces and territories on June 2023. The federal government will continue to build on this collaborative work with provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous people, industry stakeholders, and with partners across One Health sectors. Continued collaboration will facilitate the implementation of the Action Plan’s 10 shared priorities and will help preserve the effectiveness of these important drugs and to improve health outcomes for everyone.

Quotes

“The development, dissemination, update, and promotion of national prescribing guidelines for Canadian prescribers will be a key tool in ensuring the appropriate and responsible use of antibiotics for humans and contribute to the overall fight against antimicrobial resistance. Working together, we will continue to improve the health outcomes for all Canadians.”

The Honourable Mark Holland
Minister of Health

“The Association of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Disease Canada is a national specialty society that represents Canadian medical professionals working in infectious diseases and medical microbiology. The development of evidence-based guidelines for the empiric treatment of common syndromes for Canadian physicians will optimize the treatment of infections and promote antimicrobial stewardship, a key pillar in the PCAP fight against antimicrobial resistance. AMMI Canada will apply a methodological framework to adapt or adopt the WHO’s AWaRe system and antibiotic book and will develop a novel point-of-care educational guideline for Canadians.”

Dr. Deborah Yamamura, MD, FRCPC
Past-President, AMMI Canada
Chair, AMMI Canada AMR Guideline Steering Group

“Firstline is delighted to be deploying our service and technology to manage and distribute national antimicrobial prescribing guidance for the Government of Canada. Our experiences partnering with the World Health Organization, other governments and healthcare organizations give Firstline a unique ability to deliver clinical guidance that produces real-world improvements in patient care. Having deployed more sophisticated antimicrobial stewardship interventions around the world than any other organization, we are proud to play a national role in supporting healthcare providers at home in Canada.”

Dr Michael Long
Chief Clinical Officer, Firstline

“Canada’s adoption and adaptation of guidelines based on the WHO’s AWaRe system and antibiotic book shows that AWaRe is a useful tool to improve antibiotic prescribing worldwide. We are confident that this project, which also provides digital access to guidance at the point of care, will be a valuable support for prescribers.”

Benedikt Huttner
Unit Head Control and Response Strategies, Division of Antimicrobial Resistance, WHO

Quick facts

  • The World Health Organization declared AMR a top ten public health threat facing humanity. AMR is a leading cause of death worldwide.
  • AMR emerges naturally over time even when antimicrobials are used appropriately. However, when antimicrobials are used inappropriately in humans and animals, the emergence and spread of AMR can be accelerated. This means that, in some cases, antimicrobials lose their effectiveness faster.
  • AMR is a serious threat to human and animal health. Essential medical interventions such as organ transplantations, joint replacements and chemotherapy are becoming riskier as the antimicrobials used to prevent and treat infectious complications from these interventions are losing their effectiveness.
  • In Canada, AMR was estimated to have caused 5,400 deaths, costing the healthcare system about $1.4 billion, and reduced GDP by $2 billion in 2018. These estimates were published in the Council of Canadian Academies’ Expert Panel on the Potential Socio-Economic Impacts of Antimicrobial Resistance in Canada.

Associated links

Contacts
Christopher Aoun
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Mark Holland
Minister of Health
613-291-4176

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada
613-957-2983
media@hc-sc.gc.ca

Public Inquiries
Public Health Agency of Canada
613-957-2991
1-866-225-0709

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