The global pharmaceutical industry welcomes the G7 Health and Finance meeting communiqués and the commitment to address antimicrobial resistance (AMR), one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity.
While tackling the COVID-19 pandemic is an urgent global health priority, AMR continues annually to be responsible for 700,000 deaths, and the numbers are increasing year on year by 4%.
By 2050, AMR could cause 10 million deaths a year. Usage of antibiotics has risen during the coronavirus crisis, and underscores, all the more, the importance of encouraging appropriate use, improving surveillance to track resistant bacteria, and finding lasting solutions to improve the innovation pipeline for new antibiotics by providing incentives for pharmaceutical companies to create new, affordable antibiotics.
Industry welcomes the concrete commitment for Health and Finance Ministers to work together with the industry to “strengthen market incentives for antibiotic drug development”.
Working together is needed to overcome the economic challenges and the industry stands ready and willing to contribute our expertise to make sure that the eventual proposals will achieve the intended results and attract R&D investment.
To this end, industry welcomes the stated intention to develop principles that assess the value of innovation in, access to and good stewardship of novel antibiotics, with a view to these being applied to new incentive mechanisms.
“Like COVID-19, antimicrobial resistance is an existential threat that needs a coordinated, global response, from stewardship and monitoring of existing antibiotics to a workable solution for funding R&D into new ones.
“G7 Health and Finance Ministers have rightly picked up this issue, recognising that a future without effective antibiotics is a threat not only to health but to society and the economy.
“Given the unique challenges and dynamics of the antibiotics market, unique measures are needed to establish an economic environment that will incentivise sufficient long-term investment into antibiotic R&D.
“It is positive that AMR is high on the global agenda, and that governments are committed to working with the pharmaceutical industry to find long-term solutions.”
Richard Torbett, Chief Executive, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry
Thomas Cueni, Director General, International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations
Finding a solution to superbugs
Given the nature of antimicrobial resistance, we will always need new antibiotics. However, drug resistant bacteria are developing faster than new antibiotics can reach the market.
There is an urgent need for policy reforms to create market conditions that enable sustainable investment in antibiotic innovation, including properly valuing new antibiotics.
The pharmaceutical industry is committed to working with national governments, and through international alliances, to find long-term solutions to these problems and believes:
- New innovative approaches are required to encourage R&D investment in new antibiotics.
- A suite of incentives to encourage R&D must be explored as there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to solving the AMR crisis.
- This hugely important work must be taken forward with urgency, but we should recognise it cannot be completed in a year. The next G7 leadership must pick up the important work the UK has started.
In 2020 the global pharmaceutical industry launched a $1 billion pharmaceutical industry-led investment fund that aims to bridge the funding gaps facing antibiotic developers and bring 2–4 new antibiotics to the market. Read more about the AMR Action Fund. It has recently published Global Principles on Incentivising Antibiotic R&D.