Our efforts in the fight against antimicrobial resistance

Antibiotics are life-saving medicines and the cornerstone of managing bacterial infections. Unfortunately, antibiotics are widely overused and misused in both people and animals. Inappropriate use of antibiotics leads to antimicrobial resistance (AMR). As a result, antibiotics become ineffective and curing previously treatable infections becomes difficult. The World Health Organisation characterises AMR as one of the biggest threats to public health in the world today.

Antibiotics are widely overprescribed in primary healthcare in particular, where more than half of all patients with acute respiratory tract infections are treated with antibiotics. Most acute respiratory tract infections are caused by viruses and antibiotics are not needed to cure them. Antibiotics should only be prescribed when a bacterial infection is suspected.

Limiting unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions in primary healthcare settings is an important step in reducing bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Rapid diagnostics can support the optimal use of antibiotics, especially in point of care. Very recently sold Orion Diagnostica has developed, while included in the Orion Corporation, diagnostic tests QuikRead go CRP and QuikRead go Strep A tests. These support the doctor in identifying patients who need antibiotic treatment. In 2017, Orion Diagnostica launched a new website at www.tackleamr.com. The purpose of the website is to raise  awareness of antibiotic resistance and the importance of prescribing and using antibiotics appropriately.

In addition to the diagnostics products, Orion is also known in the Nordic countries for veterinary medicines. For poultry, Orion’s portfolio includes Broilact®, a unique Competitive Exclusion (CE) product providing a refined selection of bacteria that establish and develop a healthy adult type microflora in the intestine of chickens, turkeys, geese, pheasants, quails and partridges. General awareness and the restrictions on antibiotic use in poultry have increased the interest in this commercially available CE product.

Reducing the environmental impact from production of antibiotics and controlling risks at original source is also important. We reduce the environmental burden on waterways caused by our own operational sites by minimising the pharmaceutical residue emissions in our waste waters. We set ourselves ambitious targets a few years ago, and in 2017 we finished our project of improving our waste water management. Owing to the project, most of the waste waters from production and equipment washing that contain API residues are now being collected at the new pre-rinse water collection systems at our production sites and sent to treatment with a 100% reduction. All our waste water has also been treated appropriately in the waste water treatment plants in the past and not been directly conducted to natural waterways.

Being responsible does not just mean continuously improving our own operational site processes but also being committed to rigorously managing and monitoring the sustainability of our global supply chain. We do this through assessment questionnaires, by undertaking risk-based EHS audits, ensuring that necessary corrective actions are agreed with suppliers and following implementation of actions.