Germs with a resistance to common antibiotics are increasingly emerging worldwide. However, the pharmaceutical industry is making slow progress in the development of new agents and in the fight against so-called "superbugs", which are germs against which no known medicines help. In India, the drug resistance of many widespread bacteria is already over 70 percent, according to a new report by the Dutch Access to Medicine Foundation.
For example, after studying the research of leading drug manufacturers, the study authors found that only a few companies are intensively developing new ones antibiotics operate. The reason for this is the low profitability of such funds: While their development sometimes costs billions, after market launch they are often listed as reserve medication and therefore sold less. Furthermore, too few known but still effective antibiotics are sold in countries with low or medium economic strength. Efforts to avoid over-supplying the market with common antibiotics, which promotes the development of resistant germs, are positively emphasized in the study.
According to the report, the Swiss company Novartis and the French company Sanofi, two large pharmaceutical companies, have withdrawn from the research and development of new antibiotics since 2018. Two other companies have filed for bankruptcy, and other smaller companies operating in the area are at risk. The study authors conclude that both private investments and more state-funded funding of the corresponding research are necessary to ensure an adequate supply of new antibiotics.
"Drug-resistant infections are currently one of the largest global public health threats," said Tim Jinks, an expert with the Wellcome Trust health organization. "The pace of change doesn't match the scale of the challenge." It is estimated that 35,900 people die annually in the United States alone because of resistance to antibiotics and antimicrobial agents that fight diseases caused by fungi. In the EU, these resistances account for at least 17 percent of infections and result in 33,000 deaths a year.