UAC Seminar: Ensuring sustainable access to effective antibiotics - the need for an end-to-end approach

  • Date: –13:00
  • Location: Online via Zoom
  • Lecturer: Helle Aagaard, Deputy Director of ReAct Europe.
  • Website
  • Organiser: Uppsala Antibiotic Center
  • Contact person: Eva Garmendia
  • Seminarium

Helle Aagaard's seminar Ensuring sustainable access to effective antibiotics - the need for an end-to-end approach.

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"Worldwide, overuse and misuse of antibiotics by humans and for animals are major drivers of resistance. For some infections, such as gonorrhea, certain strains have now become untreatable. To keep pace with accelerating resistance, the world needs to develop a model that can deliver sustainable access to effective antibiotics - ie. existing antibiotics must be kept effective, access to effective antibiotics must be expanded to everyone in need, and the antibiotic pipeline must be filled and continually replenished. However, all classes of antibiotics currently on the market were discovered more than three decades ago. Since then, the antibiotics that have been brought to market are modifications of existing products and classes. 

Often discussions on how to fix the antibiotic pipeline have been narrowly focused on solving the “economic problem” of the failing research and development model for antibiotics. Recent bankruptcies of smaller companies and the withdrawal of large pharmaceutical companies from the field of antibiotic R&D have contributed to a narrative that this innovation crisis can be solved by simply fixing the business model i.e., transforming antibiotic R&D into a commercially attractive pursuit for pharmaceutical companies.   

Yet the problem runs much deeper and the road to sustainable access requires a much broader perspective. Research priorities are skewed by the pull of profitable markets; considerable bottlenecks continue to complicate the early stages of research; financial difficulties with crossing the so-called “valley of death” and conducting clinical development persists, structural challenges that hinder production and registration of new antibiotics; and, finally, the challenge of introducing a new antibiotic into health systems, without replicating past practices that have resulted in over- and misuse of antibiotics, and widespread lack of access. To solve these interlinked challenges, an “end-to-end” approach which links the whole chain of actors and interventions from early discovery to making the antibiotic available and accessible to the patient is therefore needed."