Drug Companies Should Be Incentivized To Develop New Antibiotics

Financial Times: Pull together to prevent a superbug apocalypse
Editorial Board

“…Although [the final report of the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance] is full of excellent proposals, early comments have targeted one of its most eye-catching and least well-thought-out ideas: a ‘play or pay’ scheme. Pharmaceutical companies would either pay a levy into a pooled global fund to support antibiotic research and development or demonstrate that they are investing an equivalent amount or more in R&D. While the global pharma industry bears some responsibility for the current crisis — most companies cut back hard on antibiotic development because they foresaw a poor potential return on these new drugs — the best way to refill the pipeline is through offering better incentives at all stages, from early research through clinical trials to regulatory approval. … ‘Play or pay’ is potentially divisive and threatens to alienate the industry whose wholehearted cooperation will be essential if the world is indeed to defeat superbugs. … Action along the lines recommended by Lord [Jim] O’Neill is urgent and should not be deflected by arguments over a ‘play or pay’ levy. Antibiotic resistance must be high on the agenda at key global meetings this year…” (5/19).