UK experts urge $2bn global fund to develop antibiotics

May 14, 2015

The global pharmaceutical industry should set up a $2.0 billion (1.8-billion euro) global innovation fund to help kickstart research into developing more resistant antibiotics, experts said on Thursday.

The report was by the British government appointed Review on Antimicrobial Resistance committee, which has warned that drug-resistant microbes could kill 10 million people a year worldwide by 2050.

"We need to kickstart drug development to make sure the world has the drugs it needs," the review's author, economist Jim O'Neill, told the BBC.

O'Neill, who used to work at Goldman Sachs investment bank, has also warned that —when bugs become immune to existing drugs— could cost $100 trillion in lost economic output.

Speaking on the BBC Panorama programme, he said big pharma should act with "enlightened self-interest".

"If it gets really bad, somebody is going to come gunning for these guys just how people came gunning for finance" during the 2008 , he said.

He said a fund with $2.0 billion over five years would give a vital boost to research and development by universities and small biotech companies.

The report said that one potential direction was the development of "resistance breakers" that could boost the effectiveness of existing without the additional cost of developing new ones.

With $2.0 billion over five years, the fund could prioritise payment to universities and small biotech companies and break the link between profitability of the drug and volume of sales.

"Too many good ideas are not being pursued for lack of funding," the report said.

O'Neill was appointed by Prime Minister David Cameron last year.

The World Health Organization last month warned that the world was doing far too little to combat the misuse of antibiotics, which is fuelling and allowing treatable diseases to become killers.

In its first ever analysis of how countries are responding to the problem of antimicrobial resistance, the UN health agency revealed "major gaps" in all six regions of the world.

"This is the single greatest challenge in infectious diseases today," Keiji Fukuda, WHO's assistant director general for health security, said in a statement.

Explore further: World failing in fight against antibiotic resistance: WHO

Related Stories

World failing in fight against antibiotic resistance: WHO

April 29, 2015
The world is doing far too little to combat the misuse of antibiotics which is fuelling drug resistance and allowing long-treatable diseases to become killers, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

Antibiotics resistance could kill 10m a year by 2050

December 15, 2014
A British government-commissioned review has found that resistance to antibiotics could account for 10 million deaths a year and hit global gross domestic product by 2.0 to 3.5 percent by 2050.

Superbugs could kill a million Chinese a year: economist

March 26, 2015
China faces a million deaths a year from antibiotic-resistant superbugs and a loss of $20 trillion by 2050, an economist and former top Goldman Sachs executive said Thursday.

Britain launching global superbug fight

July 2, 2014
Britain is to lead a global effort to combat antibiotic-resistant superbugs that threaten to knock medicine "back into the dark ages," Prime Minister David Cameron said Wednesday.

Fauci: Robust research efforts needed to address challenge of antimicrobial resistance

March 20, 2014
Given the evolutionary ability of microbes to rapidly adapt, the threat of antimicrobial resistance likely will never be eliminated. Today, many factors compound the problem, including the inappropriate use of antibiotics ...

Joint search for new antibiotics

April 28, 2015
The WHO has identified antibiotic resistance as one of the three biggest threats to human health. Without new antibiotics, we risk returning to a situation in which every infection is life-threatening. The combined expertise ...

Recommended for you

Health insurer policies may discourage use of non-opioid alternatives for lower back pain

October 5, 2018
Public and private health insurance policies in the U.S. are missing important opportunities to encourage the use of physical therapy, psychological counseling and other non-drug alternatives to opioid medication for treating ...

Opioid overdoses, depression linked

October 3, 2018
The link between mental health disorders and substance abuse is well-documented. Nearly one in 12 adults in the U.S is depressed, and opioid-related deaths are skyrocketing. As these numbers continue to climb, some mental ...

Do price spikes on some generic drugs indicate problems in the market?

October 1, 2018
A new USC study reports that sudden price spikes for some generic drugs—such as the recently reported increases of a decades-old generic heart medication and an antibiotic—are becoming more common.

Reclassification recommendations for drug in 'magic mushrooms'

September 26, 2018
In an evaluation of the safety and abuse research on the drug in hallucinogenic mushrooms, Johns Hopkins researchers suggest that if it clears phase III clinical trials, psilocybin should be re-categorized from a schedule ...

New study finds concurrent use of prescription drugs and dietary supplements could pose health risks

September 25, 2018
A new University of Hertfordshire study found that using certain over-the-counter herbal medicines and dietary supplements alongside prescription drugs could pose serious health risks, especially amongst older adults.

Drug overdose epidemic has been growing exponentially for decades

September 20, 2018
Death rates from drug overdoses in the U.S. have been on an exponential growth curve that began at least 15 years before the mid-1990s surge in opioid prescribing, suggesting that overdose death rates may continue along this ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.