Investing in GARDP 2024-2028

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Why supporting our innovative public health approach is a sound investment to counter antimicrobial resistance:

It is well understood what is at stake if the world fails to replace the antibiotic treatments that drug-resistant pathogens continue to render ineffective. Now one of the top 10 global health threats, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is responsible for nearly 1.3 million deaths and associated with almost 5 million deaths every year.1 Unchecked, the death toll is expected to rise considerably.2

The economic cost is also high, with estimates projecting it to reach US$3.4 trillion annually by 2030.3 If we do not act, 3.8 percent of global gross domestic product could be wiped out and 28 million people pushed into poverty by 2050.3 Yet despite the urgent need to develop effective treatments for drug-resistant infections, most pharmaceutical companies have left the market to invest in more profitable areas, producing a “market failure”.

The private sector’s large-scale exit from antibiotic R&D and production has hugely exacerbated the AMR crisis. Long before pharmaceutical companies started to withdraw, many clinically important antibiotic drug candidates did not stand a chance of being developed because their fate was determined by profitability rather than public health need. Today as public and philanthropic investments attempt to overcome this failure, it is becoming increasingly evident that addressing market dynamics alone is insufficient. Time and again, promising new treatments fail to reach patients due to the lack of additional investment that is required for research and development, manufacturing, and distribution capacity. And even when treatments are successfully produced, they rarely focus on the most vulnerable: mainly women, children and infants.

In short, the challenge we face when addressing AMR is both a public health failure as well as a market failure. The greatest burden of AMR is in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) with weaker healthcare systems and a greater lack of access to effective antibiotics. If this situation is not addressed, the continuous escalation of AMR will impinge on these health systems even further, with the impact disproportionally felt by people of lower economic standing, irrespective of where they live. It is a reality that is set to undo critical progress made towards universal health coverage (UHC) and the Sustainable Development Goals.