The Unique Role of Public Policy in Addressing Antimicrobial Resistance

A Point of View by Nicole Mahoney,
director, Global Regulatory Policy, MSD

Collectively, antimicrobial resistance is forcing policy makers to rethink the way diseases are managed, from how we diagnose and track infections to how we develop and use anti-infectives.
 

Nicole Mahoney, director, Global Regulatory Policy, MSD

As a researcher, I used microscopes to better understand how cells work. Over the years, I’ve elevated and widened my focus, working with policy makers who want to apply science and technology to solve major health challenges.

Antibiotic resistance is one of them. Today, some patients have bacterial infections that doctors have great difficulty treating because of resistance and public health experts warn that the problem will only grow if we don’t work to address it now.

To start, we need to ensure that antibiotics are used appropriately so that they do not become obsolete due to resistance. Ideally, scientists will develop entirely new ways to treat and prevent infections. Both approaches will require new policies to encourage, reward and sustain innovation over time. But like most complex problems, there’s no simple fix and science will only be part of the solution. Collectively, antimicrobial resistance is forcing policy makers to rethink the way diseases are managed, from how we diagnose and track infections to how we develop and use anti-infectives.

The good news is that policy makers around the world recognize the potential threat of unchecked antimicrobial resistance and key stakeholders—including governments, health care providers, public health groups and industry—have pledged action.

I’m proud to work for a company that is part of the discussion, and the solution.

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