Time for Action not more Studies
Humanity must put antimicrobial resistance on the political agenda immediately and not rely solely on industry to bail us out. The market forces conspire against new drug development. The developmental risks and timelines, coupled by current regulatory and distribution barriers simply do not support the necessary private sector investment. At over $2 billion & 15 years of drug development timelines, industry does not have the appetite, nor the resources individually, to invest. Regulatory agencies are responding to the challenge with FAST TRACK type review privileges, but this still does little to make new drug development attractive for the big industry players who alone possess the needed resources for global commercialization. The current governmental funding schemes, primarily focused on ideation and early stage proof of concept research, have produced very little to date and have not done much to advance the insurmountable current innovation investment chasms, lengthy reimbursement disincentives and the long adoption cycles. Moreover, there is insufficient global collaboration for antibiotic stewardship including abuse reduction, total consumption monitoring and new replacement therapy development.
We do not need any more costly studies validating the AMR crisis or new recommendations to deal with it; we just now need to act. We need 100 times more financial and human resources tackling this global problem thereby leading to the need to approach this global issue as one nation rather than individually. We need the right development teams, outcome goals and incentive schemes that can truly galvanize global development. We need to better manage our current antimicrobials by reducing unnecessary use (including our in foodstock) and orchestrating the global rotation of antibiotic usage like with crops. We need to fund and incentivize the development of many more alternative therapies with automatic nationwide, rapid adoption into large captive healthcare systems (guaranteed markets). We need to reduce prescription writing when done with diagnostic and compliance uncertainty. We need better education and training starting in schools. We need to support and promote our global AMR champions. We need to be very hard on counterfeit antibiotic suppliers. We need to help the developing nations with health-improving infrastructure like clean water access and better sewage treatment. We need to collect, track and share much more reliable data- usage, outcomes and trends. We must place a much greater value on our current stock of life saving antimicrobials….and the people and governments who are making a real contribution to addressing the AMR issue.
In summary, we know what we need to do to tackle this problem but somehow lack the ability/means/verve to get on with it. We need to take antimicrobial resistance out of the realm of medicine, science and healthcare systems and make it a social issue competing for top billing. We need to learn from the climate change organizers and better represent this ‘tragedy of the commons’ to the general population and conscript the public into assuring the meaningful governmental commitments are made now to enable better outcomes for our future.
Time to become serious resistance fighters.
Carolyn Cross, CEO/Chairman of Ondine Biomedical. Passionate Resistance Fighter.