The growing threat of bugs that are resistant to even last-resort medications will be the topic of a United Nations General Assembly meeting Wednesday.
Coinciding with that, 13 major drug companies have listed with four key commitments that they’re going 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 said they would:
- Make sure only patients who need antibiotics get them — according to a May 2016 report from the CDC and Pew Charitable Trusts, about one in three antibiotics prescribed in the US isn’t needed.
- Cut down on the impact producing antibiotics has on the environment — antibiotics that get into the environment, in particular water, in one way or another 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 organisations 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 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:
- DSM Sinochem Pharmaceuticals
- Johnson & Johnson
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