Industry incentives and antibiotic resistance: an introduction to the antibiotic susceptibility bonus

The scarcity of novel antibiotic compounds in a time of increasing resistance rates has begun to ring alarm bells at the highest echelons of government. Large new financial incentives to accelerate antibiotic research and development, such as market entry rewards (MERs), are being considered. However, there is little focus on how to sustain the efficacy of new, promising antibiotics reaching the market. Currently, inappropriate use of antibiotics is commonplace, which has accelerated resistance development. In an attempt to halt this trend, antibiotic stewardship policies are being implemented in many resource-rich settings. Unfortunately, this has not yet had an impact on the amount of antibiotics being prescribed globally. One important hurdle is misalignment of incentives. While governments and health services are incentivized to promote prudent use of this common good, pharmaceutical companies are incentivized to increase volume of sales to maximize profits. This problem must be addressed or else the major efforts going into developing new antibiotics will be in vain. In this paper we outline an approach to realign the incentives of pharmaceutical companies with wider antibiotic conservation efforts by making a staged bonus a component of an MER for antibiotic developers when resistance to their drug remains low over time. This bonus could address the lack of stewardship focus in any innovation-geared incentive.

Year of Publication: 2020

Authors: Aidan Hollis, Chantal M. Morel, Marlieke E.A. de Kraker, Olof Lindahl, Stephan Harbarth, Suzanne Edwards

Journal Title: The Journal of Antibiotics