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Biotech Industry Issues Declaration on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance

Jackie Syrop
Biopharmaceutical and diagnostic companies from around the world have come together to call for improved incentives to develop antibiotics that fight superbugs.
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, 85 biopharmaceutical and diagnostic companies signed an industry declaration on combating antimicrobial resistance.

The Declaration by the Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology and Diagnostics Industries on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance was also signed by 9 industry associations from across the global pharmaceutical, diagnostics, and biotechnology industries in 18 different countries. The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, which is not a signatory to the declaration, has assisted in its development and supports its aims, and is hosting the declaration on its website on behalf of the signatory companies.

The declaration is hoped to be a major step forward in establishing a global response to the challenges of drug resistance.

The declaration’s signatories call on governments to work with them to develop new and alternative market structures that provide more dependable and sustainable market models for antibiotics, and to commit the funds needed to implement them.

Coupled with safeguards to support antibiotic conservation, these mechanisms are needed to provide incentives for companies to invest in research and development (R&D) to overcome the challenges of antibiotic discovery and development. These include mechanisms to ensure that, where appropriate, the pricing of antibiotics more adequately reflects the benefits they bring, and novel payment models that reduce the link between the profitability of an antibiotic and the volume sold. An integral part of these models is a reduced need for promotional activity by companies.

The declaration sets out a commitment to action on drug resistance across 3 broad areas:

  • Reducing the development of drug resistance, including through support of antibiotic stewardship principles set out by the World Health Organization and via improved education of clinicians and promotion of judicious use of antibiotics in livestock.
  • Increasing investment in research and development that meets global public health needs. Collaborative initiatives between industry, academia, and public bodies to improve how research and development in the field is done and provide greater opportunities for the scientific barriers to antibiotic discovery to be overcome.
  • Improve access to high-quality antibiotics for all. In light of the gaps that remain in global access to existing antibiotics and vaccines, and the importance of ensuring that new generations of products are available to all those who need them, the signatories commit to supporting initiatives aimed at ensuring affordable access to antibiotics in all parts of the world at all levels of income.

“We echo the Declaration’s call for governments and payers to create a sustainable and predictable market that supports innovation and investment in the development of new products to combat antimicrobial resistance while also maintaining safeguards for their appropriate use,” BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood, said in a statement. “To accomplish these critical goals, the value assigned to antibiotics, diagnostics, vaccines and other novel products addressing antimicrobial resistance should reflect the benefits they bring to society and the investment required for their creation.”

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