News and Opinions  –  2023

Lancet article: Transferable exclusivity voucher: A flawed incentive to stimulate antibiotic innovation

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On February 9th a new article was published in The Lancet co-authored by ReAct Europe’s Otto Cars and Kerstin Åkerfeldt called “Transferable exclusivity voucher: a flawed incentive to stimulate antibiotic innovation".

The article argues why the proposed transferable exclusivity voucher (TEV), which has been suggested by the European Commission as a potential new incentive to be introduced in the revision of the EUs pharmaceutical legislation to stimulate antibiotic innovation should be abandoned.

Problems with the TEV

The TEV would allow a company to extend exclusive market protection for another drug by up to one year, in exchange for developing a new antibiotic.

The article lists several fundamental problems with this approach, including:

  • the unpredictable costs to European countries,
  • the lack of conditions ensuring access to the new antibiotic,
  • the prolonged inaccessibility of other drugs to which the voucher is applied,
  • the potential for abuse by pharmaceutical companies,
  • the risk of encouraging the development of unnecessary or ineffective antibiotics, and
  • the fact that the TEV system does not address the underlying economic and other barriers to antibiotic innovation.

Alternative approaches

The article goes on to suggest that alternative approaches, including through newly established EU Health Emergency Preparedness Response Authority (HERA) may be a more effective way to address crisis in antibiotic resistance Research & Development.

portrait of Kerstin Åkerfeld at ReAct Europe
Kerstin Åkerfeldt, Policy Expert, ReAct Europe

Policy Expert at ReAct Europe, Kerstin Åkerfeldt, says:

“For the upcoming revision of the EU’s pharmaceutical legislation we urge the European Parliament and the EU member states to reject this flawed and contentious proposal. Instead countries should consider how HERA can be used much more strategically to address all the challenges in antibiotic Research & Development by taking an end-to-end approach.”

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