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From the managing editor

Pharma needs to act with ‘enlightened self-interest’ and help stump up $2 billion for a global fund to develop new antibiotics over the next five years. So says Jim O’Neill, the ex-Goldman Sachs chief economist appointed last summer by David Cameron to lead a review into antimicrobial resistance.

With no new class of antibiotics in the past 30 years, a meagre pipeline and resistant strains of bacteria that threaten to make existing drugs ineffective, O’Neill believes we are sitting on a ticking time bomb with a potentially devastating global impact – the death of 10 million people every year and a loss of $100 trillion to the economy.

Industry stands accused of taking a step back from antibiotic research but, as GlaxoSmithKline R&D chief Patrick Vallance told BBC’s Panorama recently, “investing £1 billion in antibiotic research over the past decade and failing to produce a single compound is not a good business model…. [and] there’s only a limited number of times any company can do that”.

If governments want organisations to undertake public health work, then providing an incentive is the quickest way to achieving that goal. What’s on the table now is a guaranteed upfront payment for new compounds that prove to be effective, with the aim of cutting the link between sales volume and profitability.

The cost of inactivity is unfathomable and, as O’Neill told Panorama, “if it gets really bad, somebody is going to come gunning for these guys, just how people came gunning for finance”.

Whether pharma should be held responsible in this way is undoubtedly in question but, with antimicrobial resistance at the top of the agenda at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, there could be no better time for industry to step up to the plate.​

Claire Bowie
Managing Editor

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About PharmaTimes Magazine

PharmaTimes Magazine print and digital versions have a total circulation of 23,184, including 8,000 NHS healthcare professionals: chief pharmacists, medicines management and primary care commissioners.

PharmaTimes Magazine delivers independent, authoritative and trustworthy content on healthcare issues and topics, through impartial coverage in print and online. It brings together key stakeholders through a strong readership, including pharma and the NHS, by providing balanced and informed opinion and analysis around the key issues, trends and developments affecting today’s fast-moving environment.

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©PharmaTimes Magazine 2015. All rights reserved. Material prepared by PharmaTimes Magazine is prohibited for use by third parties and publishers without permission.

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