VP, Global Head, Environment, Social, Governance, Teva Pharmaceuticals
VP, Environment, Health, Safety, & Sustainability, Teva Pharmaceuticals
Bacteria know no borders – which is why tackling AMR requires global collaboration by pharma companies, governments, healthcare systems and communities.
Pharmaceutical companies are working to stem the rise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), but success requires a cooperative approach.
Amalia Adler-Waxman, who leads Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) at Teva, says: “As one of the world’s largest manufacturers of antibiotics and their active ingredients, Teva is committed to tackling the global challenge of AMR. That includes reducing pharmaceuticals in the environment, ensuring access to quality-assured antibiotics, and working collaboratively with all stakeholders.”
As a board member of AMR Industry Alliance, the company has a long-term commitment to minimise antimicrobial discharges across 100% of production and 50% of antimicrobial supply chain by 2030.
This approach illustrates the necessity for collaboration among all stakeholders, including the pharmaceutical sector. Richard Pickup, who leads Environment, Health, Safety, and Sustainability at Teva, says: “Of all the pharmaceuticals entering the environment, only 2% come from production waste. Unused medicines, often from people discarding boxes of inappropriate medicines, account for 10%. The vast majority – nearly 90% – enter the environment because of patient use, compounded by poor water treatment systems in hospitals and cities.
“This means that AMR is everyone’s concern. Patients, healthcare providers, governments and manufacturers need to work together on this issue.”
Access can reduce AMR
Shortages of antibiotics also spread AMR, says Giancarlo Francese, who oversees access-to-medicines initiatives on the ESG team at Teva. “In some countries, especially in Africa, shortages of antibiotics mean that doctors are forced to treat bacterial infections with the only antibiotics they have – which may not be specifically aimed at the targeted infection.”
Local authorities, healthcare systems, national governments, the public and the pharmaceutical industry must all work as a team to tackle AMR.
This can mean that the target bacteria are not fully eliminated and become resistant to the antibiotics. “This is how shortages of certain antibiotics can drive up levels of AMR,” says Francese.
Collaboration drives development
In addition, Teva joined alongside more than 20 pharmaceutical companies a new initiative known as the AMR Action Fund. Its aim is to bring two to four new antibiotics to patients by 2030. The fund will invest $1 billion and provide expertise to help antibiotics through the development process.
Again, says Francese, collaboration is essential. “Antibiotics have literally doubled life expectancy. They are a precious resource to be optimally used, not abused, and this is a global problem because bacteria know no borders.
“There is a role and responsibility for all of us when it comes to fighting AMR. Local authorities, healthcare systems, national governments, the public and the pharmaceutical industry must all work as a team to tackle AMR.”