Understanding industry contributions to the fight against antimicrobial resistance

Antimicrobial susceptibility testing in petri dish, photo by  jarun011/Adobe Stock

jarun011/Adobe Stock

The AMR Industry Alliance brings together a wide range of companies and trade associations in the fight against antimicrobial resistance. RAND Europe assessed the progress of AMRIA members in contributing to tackling AMR and found they are making a difference on diverse fronts.

What is the issue?

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) — the ability of microbes to resist medications that were once effective against them — presents one of the key global public health challenges of our time. AMR affects existing medical procedures, strategies to control infectious diseases and the security and sustainability of our food systems and supply chains. The threat posed by AMR has been recognised throughout the policy landscape.

As well as involvement from governments, international organisations, academia and civil society, engaging the medical industry is key to developing an effective approach to AMR. The AMR Industry Alliance brings together over 100 research-based biopharmaceutical, biotechnology, diagnostic and generics companies and trade associations that have committed to fight AMR in four key strategic areas: research and science; appropriate use; access; and manufacturing and environment.

How did we help?

RAND Europe was commissioned by the AMR Industry Alliance to design, implement and analyse the third annual progress survey and assess the contributions of Alliance members to tackling AMR across the four strategic pillars of Alliance activities.

What did we find?

AMRIA’s collective efforts are making a difference on diverse fronts, for example:

  • AMRIA members contributed to 93 R&D initiatives to tackle AMR, spanning antibiotics, vaccines, diagnostics and non-traditional products.
  • 81% of surveyed companies took action to improve access, for example through efforts targeting product registration, affordability and availability. Some also acted to address substandard and falsified medicines.
  • Almost all surveyed R&D pharmaceutical (92%), generics (89%) and diagnostics (80%) companies took steps to support appropriate use, for example through education and awareness-raising, reviewing promotional activities against stewardship commitments and gathering surveillance data.
  • Most of the members surveyed that have manufacturing operations are acting to reduce environmental risk from antibiotic manufacturing discharge. 76% of sites met all requirements of a common risk-assessment framework and 87% of products assessed against discharge targets met them.
  • There are opportunities to further build on the progress made to date through scaling up collective efforts to tackle AMR globally. This includes efforts involving industry, governments, public sector research institutions, intergovernmental organisations, not-for-profits, healthcare professionals, payers, patients and the public.
  • In addition, industry investment remains fragile. There is a need to ensure sustainable and scalable incentive systems for R&D in this space as well as to support appropriate-use related behaviours which minimise further exacerbating the risks of AMR.

There is also further potential for enhancing access to novel and off-patent antibiotics and diagnostics in low and middle income countries especially.