Pharmacy Practice

ASHP Supports Global Antimicrobial Resistance Challenge

Cheryl Thompson
Cheryl A. Thompson Director News Center Published: September 27, 2018

Alex Azar

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Tuesday evening formally launched the AMR Challenge, the U.S. government’s 12-month worldwide effort to hasten progress in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.

“This challenge invites stakeholders across the public and private sectors and around the globe to identify ways in which they can contribute to the fight against AMR both locally and globally,” Azar said during an event held in New York City and streamed live.

In the months leading up to the launch, more than 100 organizations and governments “stepped up to join” the AMR Challenge, he said.

ASHP was among those organizations.

“The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists commits to education, practice standards, certification, and consultation related to antibiotic use for its over 45,000 members, including creating an antibiotic stewardship certificate on developing and optimizing stewardship programs that will be released in 2019,” stated a slide on display.

Douglas J. Scheckelhoff, Senior Vice President of the ASHP Office of Practice Advancement, represented ASHP at the event.

“ASHP chose to accept the challenge because of the importance of preventing AMR and because of ASHP’s longstanding leadership on the issue. Pharmacists play such an important role in improving the appropriate use of antimicrobials,” Scheckelhoff stated Wednesday. “ASHP and our members who practice in hospitals and health systems are extremely well-positioned to further expand the vital roles pharmacists play as clinicians and leaders in preventing AMR.”


In 2016, the United Nations announced that the leaders of its member countries during a high-level meeting reaffirmed their commitment to develop action plans based on the 2015 Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance by the World Health Organization (WHO).

"Remarkable progress has been made in strengthening global coordination through the tripartite,” Azar said, referring to outcomes from that September 2016 meeting, which was organized by WHO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the World Organisation for Animal Health.

He conveyed the United States’ appreciation of those organizations’ efforts and welcomed continuation of the global-level partnership.

“But we’ve got to go further,” Azar said.

The AMR Challenge — described by Azar as “a yearlong global call to action to accelerate progress in the fight against antimicrobial resistance” — is that further action.

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called antimicrobial resistance “a global crisis that requires a global response.”

According to the first report from WHO’s Global Antimicrobial Surveillance System, published in January, 17 of 22 countries providing data had AMR patterns for Escherichia coli, Klebsiella penumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, and Stretococcus pneumoniae isolates.

“The findings are alarming,” Ghebreyesus said.

Azar said he looks forward in 12 months to “celebrating the progress that we have all made together.”

The launch event was hosted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the CDC Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the United Nations Foundation, and the Wellcome Trust.

Posted September 27, 2018

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