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Stop antibiotic resistance and fund pharma, says government review


14 May 2015

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A UK government review by economist Jim O’Neill says that the pharmaceutical industry needs a minimum of $16bn to tackle antibiotics resistance.

The O’Neill Review on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) suggests that between $16bn and $37bn over 10 years could lead to the development of four major new breakthrough antibiotics (and a number of important ‘follow-on’ products).

A UK government review by economist Jim O’Neill says that the pharmaceutical industry needs a minimum of $16bn to tackle antibiotics resistance.

The O’Neill Review on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) suggests that between $16bn and $37bn over 10 years could lead to the development of four major new breakthrough antibiotics (and a number of important ‘follow-on’ products).

O’Neill, chairman of the review, said: “No new classes of antibiotics have been created for decades and our current drugs are becoming less effective as resistance increases.  We need to kick-start drug development to make sure the world has the drugs it needs, to treat infections and to enable modern medicine and surgery to continue, as we know it. My Review on AMR has today published clear proposals to supercharge antibiotics discovery, potentially saving millions of lives for a fraction of the 100 trillion USD cost of inaction.”

In response Professor Maureen Baker, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:  “It is astonishing that a new class of antibiotic has not been produced in over 25 years – and we would strongly support more investment into research to develop new antibiotics to tackle emerging diseases, so that we can keep our patients safe now and in the future… We have developed a worrying reliance on them and GPs face enormous pressure to prescribe them, even for minor symptoms, which will get better on their own or can be treated effectively with other forms of medication.

“We all have a responsibility to curb this trend, and we need to work with patients to make them realise that prescribing antibiotics is not always the answer to treating illness, so that we can all benefit when we really need them,” she said.

Jim O’Neill and his team will spend the next year engaging with governments, NGOs and pharmaceutical companies globally to discuss and develop these proposals further, with input from an international advisory group. They will present a more detailed package of actions by the summer of 2016. 

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