Page 5 - Greenbank Review SP 2019
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 This independent Antimicrobial Resistance Benchmark is a huge step forward and shines
a light on the pharmaceutical industry's progress in tackling drug-resistant infections. It can help pave the way for a fast transparent learning culture where best practice is shared, progress celebrated and gaps where further work is needed are identified.
Professor Dame Sally Davies
Chief medical officer and co-convener of the UN Inter-Agency Co-ordination Group on AMR
Vets routinely administering antibiotics
to livestock.
 Equally concerning is the use of antibiotics
to prevent diseases in livestock: in some countries, the World Health Organization estimates that around 80% of medically important antibiotic stocks are used to promote growth in otherwise healthy animals. Finance is also a factor in reduced antibiotic efficiency as research costs are extremely high for next-generation medicines. As such, pharmaceutical giants are often reluctant to push forward into later stages
of development and trial.
In response, science is turning back to nature for new and robust antibiotic treatments. Selman Waksman, a microbiologist who coined the term ‘antibiotic’ in 1942, spent years researching soil microbes, discovering at least 20 antibiotic strains including the first effective treatment for tuberculosis: streptomycin.
In 2015, researchers from Northeastern University in Boston and NovoBiotic Pharmaceuticals isolated the antibiotic teixobactin from soil samples which has so far withstood AMR.
Answering a UN call for action in 2016,
a coalition of pharmaceutical companies
and associations formed the AMR Industry Alliance to develop sustainable solutions
to combat antimicrobial resistance. Agreeing to a common framework, over 100 biotech and biopharma signatories from 20 countries pledged to reduce AMR by 2020 by limiting the environmental impact of manufacturing, addressing antibiotic misuse, and supporting collaborative research and development. Since 2016, the Alliance has invested
a combined $2 billion in AMR research
and development.
Leading pharmaceutical companies are also adopting this framework and are now being assessed on their efforts. In January 2018, the Access to Medicine Foundation published its inaugural Antimicrobial Resistance Benchmark with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Johnson & Johnson coming top among the larger research-based companies. GSK has the
most antimicrobial medicines currently under development and is one of only two companies in the benchmark fully separating sales incentives from the volume of antibiotics
sold. Johnson & Johnson is ensuring access
to its breakthrough multi-drug resistant tuberculosis treatment is controlled through national tuberculosis programmes.
A key feature of the benchmark is its continuous assessment of post-distribution stewardship: how well companies are educating healthcare professionals and dispensers on antibiotic prescription and use, and how effective they are at supporting efforts to monitor antibiotic resistance.
Collaboration, innovative research and the drive for more responsible antibiotic use may not defeat microbial infection entirely, but together they may help medicine to regain the upper hand. Greenbank Review Spring 2019

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