A lot more work needs to be done to ensure appropriate use of medicines
The World Health Organization (WHO) and experts consider antibiotic resistance “a global health emergency that will seriously jeopardize progress in modern medicine.
“We all know that the problem of superbugs, antimicrobial resistance, is high on the international agenda,” said Access to Medicine Foundation’s Executive Director Dr. Jayasree Iyer.
Growing numbers of people are dying from “flesh-eating” microbes; from infections picked up in hospital and nursing homes; and from strains of pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhea and other diseases that are impervious to most drugs.
“Gonorrhoea, tuberculosis, E. Coli, salmonella, the plague, all diseases that are becoming untreatable. So companies are putting their R&D efforts in the right direction,” said Iyer.
Having new antibiotics in development was important, but so measures to encourage prudent use of existing drugs. Companies were also rated for clean manufacturing — particularly whether they discharged antibiotic-laden wastewater into rivers or lakes.
GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson are the best of the big pharmaceutical companies in tackling the growing “superbug” threat, according to an index released Tuesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Overall, GSK led the field with 55 antimicrobial pipeline projects, including 13 vaccines.
But action taken by such companies is only the start of what could be done to address the problem, which former Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O’Neill in 2014 estimated could cause 10 million deaths a year worldwide by 2050.
A lot more work needs to be done to ensure appropriate use of medicines — both new ones and the thousands of tonnes of older pills churned out each year by generic companies.
“We need more industry members, more pharmaceutical companies, to develop new antibiotics, new medicines, new vaccines to replace the ones who no longer work and find new responsible ways to produce them and get them to the patient,” said the executive director. — Reuters