The first independent analysis of pharmaceutical industry efforts to tackle drug resistance, published today, finds that as well as developing new drugs companies are also dismantling the incentives that encourage sales staff to oversell antibiotics, setting limits on the concentration of antibiotics in factory wastewater released into the environment, and tracking the spread of superbugs.
- There are 28 antibiotics in later stages of development that target the pathogens deemed critical AMR priorities by the WHO and/or US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, only two of these 28 candidates are supported by plans to ensure they can be both made accessible and used wisely if they reach the market.
- Nearly half of companies evaluated are involved in efforts to track patterns in drug resistance, with AMR surveillance programmes of different scales running in 147 countries. Pneumonia is the most widely tracked infection. Pfizer is running the most programmes.
- Eight companies are setting limits on the concentration of antibiotics that manufacturing wastewaters can contain before they can be released into the environment. Four companies require suppliers to also meet these standards: GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Roche. More information is needed on what these limits are and no company reveals what is released in practice.
- Four companies are taking steps to separate sales agent’s bonuses from the volume of antibiotics they sell. GSK and Shionogi have fully separated the two globally, Pfizer is piloting that approach in certain locations, and Novartis is in the process of adjusting the incentives for its sales teams.