Industry Pledges Action on Antimicrobial Resistance against Declines in TB Research Investment

29 January 2016 - Geneva, Switzerland - A declaration by the Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology and Diagnostics Industries on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance was launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on 21st January. The agreement was drafted and signed by 85 companies and nine industry associations from across the global pharmaceutical, diagnostics and biotechnology industries in 18 different countries.

"This declaration is a major step forward, but it will only benefit people suffering from drug-resistant infections if words are turned to action. Drug-resistant tuberculosis currently accounts for nearly one-third of all deaths from antimicrobial resistance and yet, TB R&D has seen significant decline in industry investment over the last five years, to a distressingly low $98.6 million in 2014 (*)", said Dr. Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership.

"This is less than what industry spent on TB R&D in 2009 and is far too low for the world's leading infectious killer. Total R&D spending on TB in 2014 was just $674 million, falling far short of the $1.8 billion per year called for in the Global Plan to End TB 2016-2020."

"If we fail to act on antimicrobial resistance, we face an unthinkable scenario where antibiotics used in the treatment of diseases like TB and AIDS no longer work. In TB, we are already facing strains of the disease that are virtually impossible to treat. Decades of progress in global health will be undone and the billions invested by all donors will be under threat."

"The Stop TB Partnership applauds this declaration and the strong commitment by industry to work with partners to develop new market structures and incentives for developing antibiotics. We also congratulate the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, Chaired by Lord Jim O’Neill, for facilitating this declaration. The Stop TB Partnership is fully committed to working with all partners to achieve the aims and objectives outlined in this declaration." said Dr. Ditiu.

In the Declaration, signatory companies call on governments to work with them to develop new and alternative market structures that provide more dependable and sustainable market models for antibiotics, and to commit the funds needed to implement them.

Read the press release from the UK Review on Anti-Microbial Resistance here and read the full declaration here.

* - 2015 Report on Tuberculosis Research Funding Trends, 2005-2014: A Decade of Data, Treatment Action Group & Stop TB Partnership, 2015. Full Link.