In the ongoing battle against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region has been taking steps to manage AMR, across three pillars of health: human, animal and environmental. It’s a response to the growing burden of AMR in the region, which is forecast to account for some 50% of annual AMR-related mortality around the globe by 2050.

The steps being taken include:

  1. Implementation of national action plans
  2. Efforts towards antimicrobial stewardship
  3. Development of AMR infrastructure 
  4. Coordination across the three health pillars

With varying regulatory policies and socio-economic factors, there are differences in the advancement of AMR management across markets in the APAC region. Indeed, maximizing the effectiveness of AMR management throughout APAC requires the review of all ongoing programs, the coordination of existing capabilities and the development of working mechanisms that will enable collaboration across sectors.

Currently up to 62% of antibiotics in APAC are taken without prescriptions, which significantly increases the risk of emergence of AMR-strains of bacteria. Meanwhile, AMR strains of bacteria and antibiotics have been detected in both soil and surface water, as less than 50% of domestic waste waters in select APAC markets are safely treated.

This report examines the AMR management efforts of 10 APAC markets: South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia. Across the three pillars of human, animal and environmental health, L.E.K. considered each region’s efforts — its national action plan, its AMR stewardship programs, its AMR infrastructure and its coordination efforts across the three pillars — and deemed those efforts to be nascent, intermediate or advanced.

All the markets were noted to have National Action Plans (NAPs) with some level of implementation, especially in initiatives pertaining to human health stewardship. These include AMR surveillance systems and antibiotic use monitory systems. The necessary implementation of animal and environmental health activities, on the other hand, vary across regions.

With their existing systems in place, advanced markets are investing in innovation and expanding their AMR infrastructure. Nascent and intermediate markets, meanwhile, are prioritizing stewardship and the development of surveillance systems. 

In nascent markets, resource constraints largely limit coverage of AMR-related initiatives, such as building infrastructure and related capabilities to use the data in clinical practices and policy-making. Better coordination and collaboration would strengthen AMR management strategies in these markets. On the other hand, in intermediate markets, strides have been made with surveillance and stewardship initiatives being implemented at select sites though with limited understanding of the impact of these initiatives. Thus, expanding coverage to achieve national scale and setting up mechanisms to measure the resulting outcomes would drive further progress. 

Advanced markets have several national scale initiatives in place to tackle AMR. To achieve “best in class” status, more focus can be drawn on ensuring coordination across the three pillars of health, including reviewing policies that would increase access to AMR-focused solutions. 

AMR poses a significant threat to APAC markets. By engaging in regular reviews of their efforts, improved coordination of their existing capabilities and exploring ways to increase the level of collaboration across the three pillars of health, APAC markets can advance their current state of AMR management in the region to tackle the growing AMR burden. 

For more details, download L.E.K. Consulting’s analysis of AMR management in APAC

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