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Novartis moves to address superbug threat

Rex Clements, Head of Business Unit Anti-Infectives & API comments on the antimicrobial resistance declaration:
Listen to the audio (1:23 min)

January 21, 2016 - Sandoz, part of the Novartis group, and other industry leaders call for action to address antimicrobial resistance, one of the world’s most serious public health challenges.

Antimicrobial resistance is one of the most pressing challenges facing global healthcare today. 

A report in 2014 estimated the rise of drug-resistant infections could claim 10 million lives globally each year by 2050.

The crux of this global issue is alarming evidence that antibiotics are losing effectiveness faster than they are being replaced by new, innovative drugs.  There is also a pressing need to use existing antibiotics better.

In other words, we are now seeing emerging pathogens – so-called superbugs – that have learned to defeat our most important antibiotics. 

What this means, according to the WHO, is that simple infections and injuries that have been treatable for decades have now regained the power to kill human beings - millions of human beings irrespective of where they live. 

Today, alongside more than 80 other organizations, we signed a joint declaration calling on governments and our industry to work together to take comprehensive action against drug-resistant infections – so-called ’superbugs’.

This declaration sits at the heart of who we are at Novartis.   We are one of a few healthcare companies engaged in early drug discovery to understand and manage the challenges of ‘superbugs’.  And for us at Sandoz, we are the largest generic antimicrobial producer globally and among the top-three antibiotic producers globally.

The declaration commits us – the wider pharmaceutical industry to do three things

  1. Encourage better and more appropriate use of new and existing antibiotics both by patients and physicians
  2. Increase investment in R&D  in new antibiotics, diagnostics, vaccines and other alternative treatments
  3. Improve access to high-quality antibiotics for all.