World Health Day Focuses on Combating Powerful, Resistant Strains of Bacteria

OTTAWA, April 7 /CNW/ - The following is a statement by Russell Williams, President of Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D) to commemorate World Health Day.

"The rise of drug-resistant bacteria poses a threat to public health in Canada and around the world. The theme of combating these strains of powerful and resistant bacteria is the centrepiece of World Health Day 2011.

"Rx&D companies support the efforts of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA), as they work collaboratively to draw public attention to this world-wide health threat.

"Antibiotics have saved innumerable lives since widespread adoption of penicillin more than 70 years ago. Before the use of antibiotics, infectious diseases such as bacterial meningitis killed 90 per cent of the children who contracted the illness. Complex medical treatments such as organ transplants, hip replacements and even chemotherapy are all made possible by the use of antibiotics.

"The ability of bacteria to mutate and withstand treatment by drugs to which they were once sensitive is called Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR). Along with the growing threat of AMR, there has been a decline in the number of new drugs coming to market due to a range of economic and regulatory factors. Unless new medications are developed, we face a future without effective antibiotics for several types of bacteria that cause life-threatening infections in humans.

"Innovative pharmaceutical companies in Canada and globally have approximately 400 new medicines and vaccines in the research pipeline to fight infectious diseases ranging from life threatening bacteria to tuberculosis and malaria.

"We need leaders in the public and private sectors, academia and philanthropy to work in concert to spur innovation and create the right circumstances and collaborations so that this research can meet its full potential.

"Rx&D companies pledge our commitment to seeking solutions in partnership with other health and public policy sectors to address this growing health threat. We are pleased to join WHO and organizations like IFPMA to promote policies and solutions to prevent the rise of resistant bacteria. For more information visit the IFPMA website at: www.ifpma.org.

About Rx&D

Rx&D is the association of leading research-based pharmaceutical companies dedicated to improving the health of Canadians through the discovery and development of new medicines and vaccines. Our community represents 15,000 men and women working for 50 member companies and invests more than $1 billion in research and development each year to fuel Canada's knowledge-based economy. Guided by our Code of Ethical Practices, our membership is committed to working in partnership with governments, healthcare professionals and stakeholders in a highly ethical manner.

SOURCE CANADA'S RESEARCH-BASED PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES (RX

For further information:

Mike Murphy
Communications
Telephone: 613.236.0455
E-mail: mmurphy@canadapharma.org

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CANADA'S RESEARCH-BASED PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES (RX&D)

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