New $1 billion fund aims to steer antibiotic companies in a tough market

11 July, 2020

(Reuters) - Several large drugmakers including Merck & Co Inc (MRK.N) and Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) on Thursday unveiled a $1 billion fund to bolster struggling antibiotic companies and sustain a pipeline for new treatments...


COMMENT (NPW): Meanwhile, there is virtually no funding or indeed any interest to address one of the leading fundamental causes of antibiotic resistance: lack of accesss to reliable information for the selection and use of antibiotics. As a result, ‘Globally, most prescribers receive most of their prescribing information from the pharmaceutical industry and in many countries this is the only information they receive’ (World Medicines Report, WHO).

Cumulative financial losses from AMR are projected to be as high as $124.5 TRILLION (124,500 billion). 700 million people die every year already from AMR, and this is expected to rise to 10 million a year over the next 30 years.

The HIFA Prescribers and Users of Medicines project recently completed a systematic review: How primary healthcare workers obtain information for safe prescribing in LMICs.

Now that we have this baseline, we want to take this forward to explore solutions. One popular solution discussed on HIFA is for an open-access database of independent information on medicines, which should, importantly, include not just information on individual medicines (this is already easy to find on the internet), but also information on how to select and use medicines appropriately. Several years ago the British National Formulary was free to access and partly fulfilled this function, but now it is behind a paywall - as a result, access to such information is actually getting *worse* over time. We need $5 THOUSAND for the coming year (literally a drop in the ocean as compared with $124.5 TRILLION). If you have suggestions on where we can find this, please let us know.

Best wishes, Neil

Joint Coordinator HIFA Project on Information for Prescribers and Users of Medicines

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages in collaboration with WHO. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: