Federal Council steps up fight against antibiotic resistance

Bern, 26.06.2024 - The number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is on the rise all over the world. This poses a growing threat to the effective treatment of infections and places a significant burden on health systems, including Switzerland’s. In order to ramp up the fight against antibiotic resistance, the Federal Council adopted the new One Health Action Plan for StAR 2024-2027 as part of the Swiss Antibiotic Resistance Strategy (StAR) at its meeting on 26 June 2024. This Action Plan promotes effective measures, sets out national objectives and takes innovative approaches to ensure the long-term availability and effectiveness of antibiotics to preserve human and animal health.

Antibiotic-resistant pathogens do not recognise national borders. This is why prevention and control strategies require a coordinated and multisectoral approach covering human health, animal health and the environment. This is the objective of the One Health Action Plan for StAR 2024-2027. Responsibility for its implementation lies with the four federal offices: the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO), the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) and the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN). These federal bodies liaise closely and implement the necessary measures in collaboration with the cantons and many other stakeholders.

Priorities of the Action Plan

The new Action Plan sets out six priority action areas and defines concrete national objectives with annual target milestones. In human medicine, the Action Plan aims to detect resistant pathogens early and to break chains of transmission through the systematic screening on admission to hospital of high-risk patients such as travellers who have received medical treatment abroad. In veterinary medicine, antibiotic consumption will be recorded and shared with veterinarians and livestock owners as part of a benchmarking system that will allow them to compare their use with others to help ensure more appropriate antibiotic consumption. In the environmental sphere, the Action Plan aims to minimise the quantity of antibiotics entering the environment via wastewater, particularly during heavy rainfall. Innovative incentive based approaches designed to promote the development of new antibiotics and the availability of certain substances on the Swiss pharmaceutical market are also being considered.

Enhancing the long-term treatment for humans and animals
The success of the strategy will be evaluated after the One Health Action Plan for StAR ends in 2027. The present ongoing revision of the Epidemics Act will also lay the legal foundation required to ensure that antibiotic resistance can continue to be prevented and combatted in the longer term.  

Surveillance of antibiotic consumption and resistance rates shows positive trend

Through the Swiss Antibiotic Resistance Strategy (StAR), the Federal Council has been pursuing the goal of ensuring the long-term effectiveness of antibiotics to preserve human and animal health since 2016. Eight years on, the implementation of numerous measures has brought antibiotic consumption down. In human medicine, the consumption of antibiotics in the ‘Watch’ category, which is particularly crucial to the development of resistance, declined by 30% between 2015 and 2022. In veterinary medicine, antibiotic prescribing has fallen by around 41% and the consumption of critical antibiotics has decreased by more than 77% in the same period. Meanwhile, resistance rates have stabilised for the time being. Nevertheless, the much higher rates internationally mean the situation is likely to deteriorate further. This is why it is still necessary to take action to prevent and combat resistance, including in Switzerland.

Address for enquiries

Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), Communications, phone +41 (0)58 462 9505 or media@bag.admin.ch

Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO), Media Department, phone +41 (0)58 463 7898 or media@blv.admin.ch

Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG), Communications, phone +41 (0)58 462 8128 or media@blw.admin.ch

Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), Communications, phone +41 (0)58 462 9000 or medien@bafu.admin.ch


The Federal Council

Federal Office of Public Health

Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research

Federal Office for the Environment FOEN