News and Opinions  –  2018

Unavailability of old antibiotics is threatening effective treatment of common bacterial infections

2018-02-22

It is well known that the innovation model for new antibiotics is broken and that there are very few novel antibiotics in the pipeline. What is less known is that unsustainable production and supply of old antibiotics is becoming a serious global problem that further limits the treatment options for common bacterial infections and is adding to the worldwide crisis of antimicrobial resistance.

In a Commentary in the Lancet Infectious Diseases the implications and possible reasons for the increasing problem with lack of  availability of essential antibiotics are discussed by leading experts representing key stakeholder groups including ReAct – Action on Antibiotic Resistance, the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Global Antibiotic R&D Partnership, the International Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy and the International Society for Infectious Diseases.

Thomas Grenholm Tängdén
Thomas Tängdén, Medical Director, ReAct. Photo: Mikael Wallerstedt

“Shortages and sudden price increases of antibiotics have been reported, indicating a fragile supply system. Consequences might include worse clinical outcome, accelerated resistance development, and increased costs for the individual and society at large”,

says Thomas Tängdén, Medical Director at ReAct.

Leadership missing to keep effective antibiotics on the market

The authors are also discussing ways forward to deal with the problem. They point out that despite many political processes have included a call to keep effective antibiotics on the market, leadership in addressing this challenge is still absent. Formation of a multidisciplinary international taskforce could be a first step.

Professor Otto Cars, founder of ReAct.

“Governments must request information from the pharmaceutical industry regarding production units and supply chains. National and international authorities must collaborate to ensure continued production, stock management and distribution of essential antibiotics. This is vital if we want to keep having the benefits of antibiotics as the back bone of all health systems”,

concludes professor Otto Cars, founder of ReAct.

For more information, please contact: 
Otto Cars: otto.cars@medsci.uu.se, Phone: +46 (0)708 920203
Thomas Tängdén: thomas.tangden@medsci.uu.se, Phone: +46 (0)708 370323

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