Home » Antimicrobial Resistance » Why we must work together to combat the threat of AMR

Amalia Adler-Waxman

SVP, Global Head, ESG, and Head of International Markets, Teva

Pharmaceutical companies have joined forces to launch an action fund which aims to incentivise investment in antibiotic R&D and address the global threat of antimicrobial resistance.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an alarming wake-up call — with the potential to set healthcare back by decades. “We can’t afford to underestimate the impact of AMR on global health,” says Amalia Adler-Waxman, SVP, Global Head, ESG, and Head of International Markets at Israel-headquartered Teva, a pharma company which manufactures 83% of antibiotics/anti-infectives listed on the WHO’s Essential Medicine List.

Access to antibiotics

Teva’s approach to addressing AMR focuses on producing antimicrobial compounds responsibly while minimising their discharge to the environment from manufacturing facilities and supply chain, supporting innovative research and science through the AMR Fund established by several pharmaceutical companies; helping ensure affordable access to — and appropriate use of — antibiotics. It has joined forces with more than 20 companies to launch the USD 1 billion AMR Action Fund, aiming to support biotech firms in bringing two to four new antibiotics to patients by 2030.

The crisis is so multifaceted that no one sector can solve it alone, stresses Adler-Waxman — which is why the work of the Fund is so crucial. “We need to ensure the public, private and not-for-profit sectors are all joining forces,” she says.

If antibiotics were priced properly, perhaps
clinicians would be more conscious
of prescribing them correctly.

Responding to the AMR crisis

It’s important to face up to the market failure of antibiotics, says Adler-Waxman. “Companies are reluctant to get involved in antibiotic research and development because the business model is unsustainable. Unfortunately, this reduces the availability of antibiotics and, ultimately, increases barriers to access.”

One of the Fund’s aims is to incentivise pharma to invest in antibiotic R&D. “The question now is: will governments be willing to pay for new antibiotics?” says Adler-Waxman. “One of the Fund’s aims is to incentivize pharma to invest in antibiotic R&D. “The question now is: will governments be willing to pay for new antibiotics?” says Adler-Waxman. “Because at the moment, this medication is too cheaply available. If antibiotics were priced properly, the business model would be more sustainable and may also allow for additional options which could ultimately reduce misuse and overuse of certain options.”

We also feel that new economic models should be investigated. Some ideas are already under discussion and worth exploring with all stakeholders.

Adler-Waxman is cautiously optimistic. “During the pandemic, the focus shifted away from AMR and onto Covid-19, and rightly so because of the threat we faced,” she says. “But it taught us that when the world is confronting a crisis, everyone can come together to find a solution very quickly. We need to see the same sense of urgency regarding the development of new antibiotics.”

Teva serves on the board of the AMR Industry Alliance — a coalition of over 100 generics, biotech, diagnostics and research-based pharma companies committed to dealing with the implications of AMR. 

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