Governments, Private Sector Should Pilot Incentive Programs For New Antibiotic, Vaccine, Diagnostic R&D

Project Syndicate: Turning AMR Words Into Action
Jim O’Neill, honorary professor of economics at Manchester University and former chair of the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance

“…The [U.K. government’s Review on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)] showed that even as the world runs out of effective antibiotics, we are overusing those that still work. … In the Review’s final recommendations, increasing public awareness was one of our Ten Commandments. … Among the other Ten Commandments on which some progress has been made, I am particularly excited about three. First, a promising amount of money is flowing into early-stage research and development … Second, more researchers seem to be focusing on AMR … And, third, the misuse of antibiotics in agriculture has been reduced more than I would have expected … Unfortunately, action has been lacking in the development of new diagnostics, vaccines (and vaccine alternatives), and antibiotics. Since the Review published its final report, there has been a lot of talk about these three crucial recommendations, particularly from the pharmaceutical industry. … And yet no concrete action has been taken. To change that, the top 20 antibiotics producers could ask their respective governments to ‘pilot’ a funding mechanism for taking new drugs through clinical trials and to market. … We also recommended that those developing new vaccines or alternatives and state-of-the-art diagnostics be eligible for … rewards…” (11/27).