Health awareness

Working together to create a sustainable market for antibiotics

It’s time to take action to slow the advance of AMR – but we cannot do it alone. By Jenelle Krishnamoorthy, associate vice president, Global Policy, Communications & Population Health

October 1, 2019

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Earlier this year, the United Nations (UN) released a report calling for immediate, coordinated and ambitious action to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The report calls on actors from all sectors — including both public and private, as well as governments, civil society and academia — to act on its recommendations. Around the release of the report, Ms. Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General, called AMR “one of the greatest threats we face as a global community.”

The continued development of new medicines is urgently needed to address the growing threat of resistance. But, in recent years, there has been a significant decline in the number of large companies conducting antibiotic R&D. This is because antibiotic discovery and development presents unique scientific, regulatory and economic challenges. Today, MSD is one of the few companies that continues to invest in R&D aimed at producing vaccines and medicines to prevent and treat infections. We are doing our part, but we cannot overcome these challenges by ourselves. We must take action, now, to fix the market so more investment in this area is stimulated. As noted by the UN, continued commitment across multiple sectors is urgently needed.

I recently participated in several panels, where I had the opportunity to speak frankly about the challenges of antibiotic development with colleagues across industry, academia, public health groups and government. Across the board, we agree it’s necessary to boost innovation to help tackle the AMR crisis. It’s time for us to work together to overcome the unique challenges to the development of new, critically needed antibiotics.

To do this, we must create an economic environment that both provides a sustainable return on investment for successful innovation in addressing AMR and enables appropriate patient access to this innovation. MSD is working in partnership with academics, infectious disease specialists, non-governmental organizations, and policymakers to advance policies that support the development and appropriate use of new tools to combat AMR.

At MSD, we are committed to playing our part in the global response to AMR — not only through our investments in the development of new vaccines and treatments for unmet medical needs, but also in our work to support the appropriate use of these products around the world. We look forward to continuing this work with partners committed to addressing this global crisis.

I’m proud to work for a company with such a historic legacy in this space — one that remains committed to slowing the advancement of AMR.