Governments Must Offer Incentives, Find Creative Market Solutions For Antibiotic Development

Financial Times: We ignore the disaster in the antibiotics market at our peril
Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust

“…Decades of disinvestment have left perilously few companies active in antibiotic development. Those remaining are often dependent on support from philanthropic or public funders. … The tragedy is not that investors have lost their money. Rather, it is the signal that there is no viable route to market for new antibiotics, however valuable they may be to society. Capital-starved smaller companies will fold. Innovation will die on the vine. Money already invested by governments and charities will be squandered. Despite agreement about what is wrong, our political leaders have chosen not to address the problem. This is unacceptable. Governments must send an immediate signal to companies and investors that the future is not as bleak as the present. … If leaders are afraid to deliver … market incentives, we need to offer a plan B — finding creative new models to stabilize the antibiotics market and stimulate private sector innovation without exposing public funders to all the risk. If we do not act, the biggest losers will not be the investors, staff, and shareholders of companies …, but patients and the public” (4/21).