Given the ramifications of a world without antibiotics, and the dearth of viable products in the pipeline, you’d think the world’s governments would make some cash incentives available, or attempt to create new products themselves.
Unfortunately the appropriate large and generous reaction is unlikely because it doesn’t win votes. This is the same reason why the city of New Orleans failed to prepare for the inevitable hurricane – it was easier to save dollars and try to be re-elected than “waste” money protecting the public from something that didn’t happen in the short term.
The good news is that the UK government is potentially making an effort, thanks to the recommendations of a Review on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), led by former Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O’Neill:
The first is to establish a five-year $2 billion (£1.3 billion) AMR Innovation Fund to support research and development. Pharmaceutical companies would provide the money – equivalent to less than 0.6% of the top 10 companies’ current R&D expenditure – and universities and small bio-tech companies would receive funding to kick-start early-stage research.
…The second recommendation is to create one global purchaser funded by governments and healthcare providers. This would reward drug companies for valuable new antibiotics – not through sales volume, but based on their social value. [The Conversation]
Hopefully it amounts to something, or even leads to inter-government dialogue.