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Public Health Driven Innovation

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For collaborations and assistance on innovation, contact Jaya Ranjalkar.

A public health driven and end-to-end approach to innovation that enables sustainable ac-cess to effective antibiotics in low- and middle-income countries is broadly supported.

Why?

Public health driven R&D initiatives for the development of new antibiotics is emerging, and more entities are considering development of complementary medical tools to reduce the disease burden and the unnecessary use of antibiotics.

Yet these initiatives are still limited and dwarfed by a prevailing research agenda that too narrowly focuses on high-income country research priorities. While there is general consensus on the need to change the traditional drug development model, the implementation of such changes by R&D funders has not yet materialized. Other forms of innovation, within and beyond health care, that could contribute to reducing antibiotic resistance have largely been overlooked by funders so far.

Such innovations could include broader health care innovations, including vaccines and diagnostics, financial innovations to promote sustainable access to antibiotics and innovations in how to do stewardship. Innovation is equally needed within agriculture to replace or minimize the use of antibiotics and to develop more sustainable agricultural practices.

Finally, it is critical to encourage a range of social innovations that can influence perceptions and practices related to the use of antibiotics and to foster a better understanding of the human and planetary microbiome. Without a comprehensive, public health focused and balanced approach, many of the innovations that could benefit low- and middle-income countries will lag behind.

Photo: Shutterstock

How can ReAct achieve change?

ReAct will work with partners to demand a public health driven research agenda that prioritize the particular needs of low- and middle-income countries, and that seek to fully separate the cost of research and development from the final product price and the volume of sales as recommended by the UN Political Declaration on Antimicrobial Resistance. In response to such demands, governments will start to prioritize the public interest and public health approaches to innovation, and seek to introduce pilots or incentives that ensure sustainable access to antibiotics.

As governments and funders launch public health oriented approaches to R&D, they should increasingly seek to collaborate through the WHO to establish an effective, ambitious and binding WHO Development and Stewardship Framework.

By conceptualizing an end-to-end approach for the development of, and sustainable access to, antibiotics, ReAct can encourage funders to take a broader innovation agenda, less focused only on drug development. This, in turn, can spur non-pharmaceutical advances to tackle antibiotic resistance, through the policies and investments launched by funders. It can also encourage entities in the public, not-for-profit and private sector to develop innovations that build upon existing or introduce new practices that improve the response to antibiotic resistance.

What do we want to see?

WHO Member States and core funders support an ambitious Global Development and Stewardship Framework that enables sustainable access to effective antibiotics in low- and middle-income countries.

Innovation efforts take a broader approach and address the need for innovation in clinical practice, sustainable animal husbandry and social sciences.

Governments undertake piloting of new approaches to ensure delinkage and models for controlled distribution and use of antibiotics.