To the G20: Incentivise Antibacterial Drug R&D

Andrew Jack of the Financial Times today reports that Angela Merkel, (German chancellor & G20 President), has put health at the centre of today and tomorrow’s meeting of leading nations in Hamburg. High on their agenda will be attempts to tackle Infectious Diseases that present a growing health, economic and security threat across borders. The G20 meeting will look at how to respond to pandemics and there will also be a specific emphasis on one significant threat that is well understood but still neglected: ‘Anti Microbial Resistance (AMR)’.

Yesterday, DRIVE-AB, a joint undertaking between the EU and the European Pharmaceutical Industry Association) commented on their findings that are pertinent to G20 commitments, calling for the following incentives to drive forward antibacterial drug R&D to combat AMR:

  • Pay between $750 million and $2 billion Market Entry Rewards to companies introducing new antibacterial drugs
  • Global banking institutions to offer novel financial instruments to further support antibacterial R&D
  • Top up currently available AMR ‘Push’ funding by $250 million pa
  • Develop health technology assessment reimbursement rules which recognise the societal value of antibiotics
  • Establish multinational coordination and collaboration

The speed and frequency of emergence of new Superbugs was underlined by the World Health Organization today after reporting on the discovery of totally untreatable Superbug strains of gonorrhoea and warning of their potential spread. Two studies on gonorrhoea published in the journal PLOS Medicine documented cases in Japan, France and Spain of patients with strains of gonorrhoea against which no known antibiotic is effective. The WHO estimates 78 million people a year get gonorrhoea.