Why we need a new access model for antibiotics

Every year, 5.7 million people lose their lives because they cannot access the antibiotics they need—eight times the number of deaths due to antibiotic resistance. To address this tragic problem, we urgently need a new access model for new and existing antibiotics.

The challenge of antibiotic access

Most new antibiotics are unavailable in much of the world, especially in LMICs. Of the 25 new chemical entities (NCEs) developed between 1999 and 2014, only 12 have registered sales in more than ten countries.

Furthermore, the development of new antibiotics faces several challenges which makes them less appealing to investors than other drugs. As a result, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the main drivers of antibiotic innovation, are unable to ensure global distribution of their products nor even, in many cases, to invest in their development. 

Meanwhile, many of the antibiotics developed in the 20th century are still used as first-line treatments for common infections. However, supply issues often limit patients’ access to these vital drugs. And with the supply chains of existing antibiotics becoming increasingly fragmented, shortages are likely to become increasingly common.

In search of new solutions

The global health threat of poor access to antibiotics urgently requires us to develop new concepts and mechanisms to improve the availability and affordability of these life-saving drugs. To that end, GARDP has developed an access strategy that focuses on four pillars - evidence generation, early introduction, regulatory, and sustainable manufacturing and commercialisation. GARDP is working with WHO and other international bodies on a new initiative called SECURE that will examine new access models for essential antibiotics, particularly for countries with a high burden of drug-resistant bacterial infections.

Besides helping countries fight drug-resistant infections, GARDP expects this endeavour to benefit the global public health community by ensuring antibiotic security, a key component of pandemic preparedness. 
Much remains to be done to ensure that antibiotics are available for everyone who needs them. And with millions of lives at stake each year, we have no time to lose.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the impact of pandemics and the importance of preparedness. It has demonstrated that addressing the silent pandemic of drug-resistant infections can only be achieved through greater international cooperation and investment. As host country, Switzerland recognizes the major role GARDP plays at the global level in the fight against antibiotic resistance.”

Alain berset
Federal Councillor, Head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA), Switzerland

SECURE aims to:

Provide member countries with sustainable access to a portfolio of essential new antibiotic treatments to address drug-resistant infections and existing antibiotics that suffer from frequent supply chain interruptions and shortages. 
Align public health needs, local demand, supply and usage of antibiotics available through SECURE by interacting with member countries, originators, manufacturers and other stakeholders to address barriers and promote positive change.
Promote the appropriate use of these new antibiotic treatments by generating the evidence needed to implement these treatments. 

Activity Report 2020

The 2020 Activity Report shows GARDP’s remarkable progress and promise in the fight against the most serious drug-resistant infections. It also demonstrates why more partnerships and investment are critical to address the growing threat of antibiotic resistance and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Download full report

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ⓒ GARDP Foundation, 2021
Design Enigma