Auspherix, an early stage anti-infectives company, today announces that it has signed the BEAM Alliance’s call to governements and industry to work in parallel to take comprehensive action against drug-resistant infections, launched today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Full release below.
GLOBAL PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY CALLS ON GOVERNMENTS TO WORK WITH THEM TO BEAT THE RISING THREAT OF DRUG RESISTANCE
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 – socalled ‘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 countries1 – 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 particular, the Declaration supports a continuation of efforts towards improved conservation of antibiotics, including a call for improved uptake of rapid point-of-care diagnostics to improve how antibiotics are prescribed, and changes to incentive structures within health systems that directly reward doctors, pharmacists and veterinarians for prescribing antibiotics in greater volumes.
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, which the Review warmly welcomes. These span across three broad areas:
- Reducing the development of drug resistance. The companies commit to encouraging better and more appropriate use of new and existing antibiotics, including through work that supports the antibiotic stewardship principles set out by the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Action Plan on antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and via improved education of clinicians. This support extends to promoting more judicious use of antibiotics in livestock, as part of a ‘one health’ approach.
- Increasing investment in R&D that meets global public health needs. Recognising the need to increase research into new antibiotics, diagnostics, vaccines and other alternative treatments, the companies commit to a continuation and extension of collaborative initiatives between industry, academia and public bodies to improve how R&D 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 our 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.
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 AMR. The Review will continue to work to drive progress towards a series of key international milestones in 2016 – including likely discussions on AMR at the UN General Assembly and as part of China’s G20 programme in the autumn – and in support of progress against the WHO Global Action Plan on AMR. The Declaration will be updated every two years, to take account of the evolving global landscape of AMR and changing challenges and priorities. It remains open to accept new signatory companies and bodies at any time, with a complete list maintained on the Review on AMR’s website, www.amrreview.org/industry-declaration
1 This reflects the final confirmed number of signatories at the time of publication, and updates the figure used in earlier versions of this press notice.
Notes to Editors
About antimicrobial resistance
1. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the natural process by which bacteria and other microbes develop resistance to the drugs commonly used to treat them. Antimicrobials include antibiotics (which act only on bacteria), antivirals, antiparasitics and antifungals. The independent Review on AMR, chaired by the economist Lord Jim O’Neill, estimated in 2014 that without effective global action, the rise of AMR could claim 10 million lives globally each year by 2050, and result in a cumulative loss from global output of 100 trillion USD.
2. The growth of resistance to antibiotics represents a particular threat to modern healthcare. We rely on effective antibiotics to treat common infections and to ensure that other medical procedures (such a surgery or cancer chemotherapy) remain safe and routine, but a combination of scientific, regulatory and commercial challenges has meant that the discovery of new antibiotics in recent decades has failed to keep pace with the rise of antibiotic-resistant infections. Meanwhile, we face the dual problems of pervasive over-use and misuse of antibiotics and other antimicrobials in animals and humans in most parts of the world – something that exacerbates the development of drug resistance – and a lack of affordable access to antimicrobials in others.
About the Declaration
3. The Declaration by the Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology and Diagnostics Industries on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance marks a major step forward in the global battle against the growing problem of AMR. It reflects and welcomes the progress towards a comprehensive global response to AMR made by governments over the past 18 months in major multilateral forums including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the G7, and the contribution to these efforts provided by the work of the Review on AMR and other key international organisations.
4. The Declaration has been signed by 85 companies (74 pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and 11 diagnostics companies) and nine industry associations from 18 different countries. This final count reflects the number of signatory organisations at the point of launch, and updates the figure included in earlier versions of this press notice. The Declaration remains a living document, with signatories free to add or remove their endorsement at any time.
5. The Declaration text was collectively drafted and agreed by its signatory companies. The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance is not a signatory to the Declaration but it has assisted its development and supports its aims. The Review has agreed to host the Declaration on its website (www.amr-review.org/industry-declaration – page live from Thursday, January 21) on behalf of the signatory companies.
About the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance
6. The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance was commissioned by the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, in July of 2014 to address the growing global problem of drug-resistant infections. The Review has been exploring in detail the challenges associated with drug resistance over the past 18 months, working extensively with companies, NGOs and governments around the world to identify the interventions required to overcome these challenges and to reinvigorate antibiotic discovery and development. The Review will deliver its final report and recommendations by the 9 summer of 2016, and has so far published a series of interim reports looking at individual aspects of AMR.
7. The Review is Chaired by Lord Jim O’Neill and backed by the Wellcome Trust and the UK Government, although operates and speaks independently of both. Lord Jim O’Neill is also the current Commercial Secretary to HM Treasury, but chairs the Review in an independent capacity. He is an internationally published economist and until 2013 was Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, having previously been the organisation’s Head of Economic Research. The Wellcome Trust is providing part-funding for the work of the Review, and hosting the team at its London headquarters.