Presenting a United Front: International Taskforce Convenes to Battle Increasing Resistance to Life-saving Drugs

October 22, 2015

Antimicrobial resistance currently one of global health’s biggest threats

A two-day meeting of the TATFAR kicks off in Luxembourg today, aiming to strengthen collaboration in the fight against growing resistance to life-saving antimicrobial drugs. The meeting gathers representatives from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the European Commission and some of the world’s foremost experts on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) to establish strategic actions for Taskforce members for the next five years. Representatives from Canada and Norway, the newest TATFAR member states, have also been invited to join the meeting for the first time.

“Infections from AMR kill close to 50,000 people per year in the EU and the U.S. combined, and billions of euros and dollars in avoidable health care costs and productivity losses,” said Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Union (EU) Commissioner for Health and Food Safety. “The EU and the U.S. must present a united front, leading the way to tackling this global health threat. We need a common “One-Health” approach to antibiotics in both human and animal health.”

“Antimicrobial drugs have created a world where previously life-threatening conditions are manageable and killer infections are beatable—TATFAR’s ability to provide evidence-based technical guidance and maximize resources through U.S.-EU collaboration are critical for stemming the loss of medically necessary drugs due to resistance,” said Ambassador Jimmy Kolker, HHS Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs. “This meeting will ensure we can continue to foster those efforts through 2020, with the added strength of two new partners: Canada and Norway.”

Three areas for collaboration will be highlighted during the meeting: 1) appropriate use of antimicrobials in human and animal health, 2) prevention of drug-resistant infections, and 3) improving the pipeline for new antimicrobial drugs in human medicine. A complete list of future activities will be made available to the public on the TATFAR website following meeting discussions.


TATFAR was created following a 2009 U.S.-EU presidential summit on combating antimicrobial resistance, when bacteria no longer respond to the drugs designed to kill them. Through regular meetings, workshops, and exchange of best practices, TATFAR’s scientific and technical experts have collaborated to produce several notable outcomes since 2011.

For example:

  • A common structure and process indicators for hospital antimicrobial stewardship programs to standardize use and prescribing practices internationally
  • Point prevalence surveys to address gaps in AMR surveillance, which have generated national estimates of the burden of healthcare-associated infections for both the EU and U.S.
  • Support for drug development programs that will satisfy regulatory requirements in both the EU and U.S.

TATFAR members’ working relationships will continue to facilitate progress for other mechanisms addressing AMR, including the U.S. National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria and the European Commission’s Action Plan Against Antimicrobial Resistance. In addition, the relationships and collaborations gained through TATFAR better allow its technical experts to support global action on AMR including the Global Health Security Agenda and the World Health Organization’s Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance.

Contact: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Global Affairs
Melanie Boyer, Manager of Communications
+ 202 260 1787

Contact: European Commission
Enrico Brivio, Spokesperson Health and Food Safety
+32 2 295 61 72