Working together to beat the rising threat of drug-resistant infections

AstraZeneca and other key players from across the global biopharmaceutical industry are calling on governments and industry to work together in taking comprehensive action against drug-resistant infections, with a joint declaration launched today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

More than 80 leading international pharmaceutical, generics, diagnostics and biotechnology companies, as well as key industry bodies, have come together to call on governments and industry to work in parallel in taking comprehensive action against drug-resistant infections – so-called ‘superbugs’ – with a joint declaration launched today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The statement sets out for the first time how governments and industry need to work together to support sustained investment in the new products needed to beat the challenges of rising drug resistance.

The Declaration on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance – drafted and signed by 85 companies and nine industry associations across 18 countries – represents a major milestone in the global response to these challenges, with commercial drug and diagnostic developers for the first time agreeing on a common set of principles for global action to support antibiotic conservation and the development of new drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines. The industry is calling on governments around the world to now go beyond existing statements of intent and take concrete action, in collaboration with companies, to support investment in the development of antibiotics, diagnostics, vaccines, and other products vital for the prevention and treatment of drug-resistant infections.

In what the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance recognises to be a notable step for the industry, the signatory companies 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. These mechanisms are needed to provide appropriate incentives (coupled with safeguards to support antibiotic conservation) for companies to invest in R&D to overcome the formidable technical and scientific 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.

As well as calling for continued progress by governments on these fronts, the Declaration sets out a commitment to further action on drug resistance by its signatories. This spans across three broad areas:

  • Reducing the development of drug resistance.
  • Increasing investment in R&D that meets global public health needs.
  • Improve access to high-quality antibiotics for all.

By bringing together such a wide range of companies in this unprecedented way, the Declaration provides a valuable roadmap to guide further collaborative efforts between industry, governments and NGOs in the global fightback against antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

You can read the Declaration here.

For further detail and background relating to the Declaration, read the full press release.

Click to find out more about the work of the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance.

What are people saying about the Declaration?

“This Declaration from industry is a major step forward in establishing a properly global response to the challenges of drug resistance. I’m really impressed that such a wide range of companies have been able to agree on a common set of principles and commitments across these important issues: this is a level of consensus that we have not previously seen from the industry on this topic.

“With discussions at this year’s UN General Assembly and as part of China’s G20 presidency looking likely, 2016 is set to be a pivotal year in the global fightback against AMR. This Declaration provides a strong basis for my Review, for governments and for NGOs to progress conversations with industry in the coming months about how we can turn these ideas and principles into concrete action.

“The pharmaceutical industry, as well as society at large, cannot afford to ignore the threat of antibiotic resistance, so I commend those companies who have signed the Declaration for recognising the long-term importance of revitalising R&D in antibiotics, and for their leadership in overcoming the difficult issues of collective action at play here.”

Lord Jim O’Neill, Chairman of the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance

“We welcome the leadership provided by Lord O’Neill’s Review on AMR, applaud the ongoing global efforts to ensure a sustained pipeline of new therapies is developed and are proud to support this endeavour.

“The Declaration’s call for collaborative action on new commercial models is timely. Industry is ready to engage with governments to develop alternative market structures to enable the sustainable investment that is necessary if we are to overcome the formidable technical and scientific challenges of antibiotic discovery and development.” 

Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca CEO

“Antimicrobial resistance is beyond the capacity of any organisation or country to manage or mitigate alone. WHO and its Member States have called for the development of new antimicrobial medicines and affordable access to them, in line with the global action plan on antimicrobial resistance. This Declaration affirms that the challenges of AMR can be addressed only through collaboration and global collective action.”

Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization

For quotes from other signatories, click here.


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