Reigniting research and development on antibiotics

Antibiotic resistance is a major global concern and, according to the UK Chief Medical Officer, poses a threat equivalent to terrorism. Yet investment in antibiotics R&D is low due to a lack of economic incentives.

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Researchers at LSE analysed the incentives needed to get antibiotics R&D going again. Building on their work on the development of new vaccines for neglected diseases, the team conducted an in-depth exploration of market failures in producing new antibiotics.

This recommended new approaches to risk-sharing, particularly in clinical trials, alongside incentives to limit over-marketing and over-consumption of any new drug in the medium to long term.

This research led the European Commission to develop a comprehensive action plan, with concrete proposals concerning incentives to develop new effective antibiotics.

In early 2012, the public-private partnership between the European Commission and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations announced a shared commitment of €220 million for the development of new antibiotics. In addition, the research enabled the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to award a series of contracts for antibiotic research.

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