The growing threat of bugs that are resistant to even last-resort medications will be the topic of a United Nations General Assembly meeting on Wednesday.
Coinciding with that, 13 major drug companies have listed four key commitments to uphold by 2020 in an attempt to cut back on antimicrobial resistance – that is, resistance to medicines found in bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites.
The goals are along the same lines as the ones laid out in January at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The pharma companies include major players like Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Sanofi, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, and Novartis.
As part of the 2020 plan, the companies have said they would:
Make sure only patients who need antibiotics get them. According to a May 2016 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Pew Charitable Trusts, about one in three antibiotics prescribed in the US isn’t needed. Cut down on the impact that producing antibiotics has on the environment. Antibiotics that get into the environment – into water, in particular – can be a huge problem when trying to tackle antibiotic resistance. Increase access to treatments, including efforts to stop counterfeit drugs. Collaborate more with government organizations to develop more antibiotics, vaccines, and tests for different microbes.
When it comes to antibiotic resistance, an estimated 23,000 Americans died in 2013 from bacterial infections that didn’t respond to antibiotics, and it’s getting to the point where diseases like gonorrhea may soon become untreatable, and bacteria have even begun developing resistance against antibiotics that are used as last resorts.
Here are all the companies that signed on to the 2020 commitment:
- Allergan AstraZeneca Cipla DSM Sinochem Pharmaceuticals Roche GSK Johnson & Johnson Merck Novartis Pfizer Sanofi Shionogi Wockhardt