Superbug fight unites drug industry
Britain's chief medical officer Sally Davies applauds industry commitment to beat antimicrobial resistance
In a declaration at the World Economic Forum in Davos, they called for coordinated efforts to cut unnecessary use of antibiotics and support development of new ones, including through changing drug prices and investing in research.
Any use of antibiotics promotes the development and spread of so-called superbugs — multi-drug-resistant infections that can evade the medicines designed to kill them. International alarm about the superbug threat is rising after the discovery in China of a gene called mcr-1 that makes bacteria resistant to all known antibiotics.
Former Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O'Neill was asked in 2014 by Britain's prime minister to conduct a full review of the problem and suggest ways to combat it.
In his initial report, he estimated antibiotic and microbial resistance could kill an extra 10 million people a year and cost up to $100 trillion US by 2050 if it is not brought under control.
The Declaration on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance calls for steps including:
- Governments committing funding to implement the World Health Organization's Global Action Plan to create programs ensuring that health systems use antibiotics appropriately, along with increasing use of fast diagnostic tests and boosting reimbursements for them to ensure patients get the correct treatment.
- Better education of doctors and nurses on appropriate antibioticuse.
- Improved infection control through better hygiene, vaccination and preventive treatments.
- Reduced used of antibiotics in livestock.
- Higher reimbursements for antibiotics and diagnostic tests in developed markets.
- More collaboration between researchers at drugmakers and those at universities and government.
- More access to antibiotics in countries around the world.
Britain's chief medical officer Sally Davies said the declaration was "a clear sign of industry's collective commitment to beating the threat of antimicrobial resistance."
With files from Associated Press