Antimicrobials And The Future Of Fighting Infections
A recent G20 summit had an unusual set of attendees for an unusual set of topics: human health. While the G20 conference is mostly organized for economic talks, the importance of health services in a shrinking world has brought together the health ministries and secretaries of the biggest economies on the planet.
One of the topics up for discussion is antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the ability of viruses, bacteria, and fungi to ignore the medications we use to get rid of them. AMR infections cause hundreds of thousands of deaths every year, and that number could reach the millions over the next few decades unless we do something to stay ahead of the curve.
The usual system we have to reward new medicines is the patent, the right to stop anyone else from selling something you invented for around 20 years. However, that doesn’t really work for antimicrobial drugs: the more you use them, the more the microbes will resist them, so doctors prefer to use older drugs first. That means antimicrobials don’t make much money until well after their patents end. That’s why people are thinking of other ways to reward people who develop them.
- Patent extensions. If antimicrobial medications take years to become commonly used, then the government should make an exception and extend the patent.
- Priority vouchers. The FDA already uses these to reward companies that study uncommon tropical diseases. Basically, in exchange for making a useful but not very money-making drug, a company can have one of their other drugs jump the FDA’s queue and get a priority review. And if the company doesn’t have a blockbuster drug waiting, they can sell the voucher to another company that does.
- Prizes. For developing and patenting an antimicrobial drug, the government or a private group will give a company prize money. Of course, bringing a drug to market is a long and complicated process with a lot of points where it can fail, so the proposal is to set up a series of prizes for every milestone along the way.
As a patient, antimicrobial drugs are one of those medications you absolutely have to afford one way or another, because many kinds of infection can become life-threatening if you don’t treat them. That’s why the USA Rx pharmacy discount card has discounts for every kind of prescription drug, including the cheap, common antimicrobials doctors use first and the expensive, rare drugs they use if the first medications fail. Getting a card of your own is free and easy, and you can find out more about it when you call our number at 888-277-3911 or email us at [email protected].