New report recommends major reforms to encourage response to antimicrobial resistance

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A new report from MTPConnect and the Australian Antimicrobial Resistance Network (AAMRNet) highlights the threat from the rise of drug-resistant infections and makes several recommendations to encourage the development of new antibiotics.

The World Health Organization has recognised antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as one of the top 10 public health threats facing humanity, with estimates of 10 million people globally dying each year by 2050.

The new report – Fighting superbugs: Ensuring Australia is ready to combat the rise of drug resistant infections has been prepared by Evohealth.

It recommends that Australia pilot a UK-style subscription model for two novel antimicrobials and provide additional data exclusivity protections beyond Australia's current five-year term. It also recommends specialist regulatory and health technology assessment pathways.

MTPConnect CEO and AAMRNet co-chair Stuart Dignam said the report’s recommendations provide a way forward to begin taking immediate action to tackle this urgent threat to our health system.

“We are running out of effective antibiotics and fast approaching a post-antibiotic era where minor infections, currently easily treated with common antibiotics, may become deadly,” said Mr Dignam.

“The innovation pipeline for new antibiotics is drying-up and just not keeping pace with public health needs.

“The costs of R&D are too high, and the commercial returns are currently too low to justify investment in infectious disease medicine, particularly compared to other therapeutic areas.

“Incentives are clearly required to stimulate investment in new discovery, early clinical trials and, for medicines that show promise, suitable reimbursement pathways.

“We need to act now to change how we fund and pay for novel antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines,” he said.