EFPIA, the voice of the research-based pharmaceutical industry in Europe, welcomes the publication of the European Commission's "Strategy and Action Plan to Tackle the Threat of Antibiotic Resistance".
The threat to public health from antibiotic resistance requires bold thinking followed by bold action. Building on the initiative of the Swedish EU presidency of 2009 in putting this issue on the table, this publication follows a series of discussions over the course of this year and illustrates the strong will to address this issue in partnership.
Urging renewed commitment, EFPIA president Andrew Witty commented: "Antibiotic resistance is a major challenge throughout the world and one that we need to take seriously. It is a challenge that the pharmaceutical industry wants to be part of solving. What we are committed to, is to work with other stakeholders to find a new approach which allows this research to be restimulated, restarted, and allows us to be successful in re-equipping our medicines chests with effective antibiotics which will be available on the day we need them. So that when we do have a fundamental bacterial challenge we are able to protect ourselves."
The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) Europe's largest public-private initiative, jointly-funded by EFPIA and the European Commission, which operates to speed up the development of better and safer medicines for patients, presents a strong mechanism to "kick-start" the process of revitalising antibiotic research. EFPIA welcomes the news that IMI is considering a new large-scale program to progress the discovery and development of novel antibiotic drugs to treat the most urgent infections and the complementary measures being taken by the Commission to step up research efforts and stimulate the coordination of research activities within EU member states.
Richard Bergström, director-general of EFPIA said: "This program of collaborative research needs to facilitate the involvement of large and small pharmaceutical companies and the antimicrobial research community at large. This is very new ground for the industry and over the course of the next few months we will be finalising the details, but the shape we hope to create for the initiative is clear."
This collaborative platform, which will also enhance efficiency and competition between companies, sharing their expertise in research and development, has the potential to extend to an unprecedented sharing amongst companies of learnings, including successes, failures and information on older products. That way efficiency will be enhanced. This collaboration should support activities across the whole research and development process, including the very-challenging process of drug development, which is recognized as a major stumbling in bringing new antibiotics to patients. In all of this, we believe that it is important to retain a competitive dynamic which will ensure that innovative approaches are developed. We face not just a lack of new antibiotics, but also a lack of novelty in those that are coming forward.