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WEBINAR: Antibiotics Market Failure


The Parliament Magazine and the PA International Foundation organized a webinar to address the antibiotics market failure.

Covid-19 uploads nightmarish images in our memory banks. But is it enough to make us change? Will the Commission continue its pre-Covid-19 Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) policies as criticized by the European Court of Auditors – or will there be a new start as Europe runs out of effective antibiotics? Will the demonstrated lack of disease preparedness, prevention and pre-emption, despite early warnings, continue or will there be a new structure to prevent a next pandemic outbreak?

The Parliament Magazine and the PA International Foundation co-organized a webinar on 4 June 2020 on ‘Antimicrobial Resistance: The Requirement for a New Business Model for the Development, Production and Sales of New Antibiotics’ including speakers such as Lord Jim O’Neill and webinar co-hosts and Members of the European Parliament Tiemo Wölken and Peter Liese. The audio/video recording is available on Youtube. Click here to read a summarizing article from The Parliament Magazine.

Tiemo Wölken (MEP, S&D, Germany), Vice Chairman of the European Parliament AMR Group
“Very little is done [to reduce the AMR threat]. There is an obvious market failure in investing in research and development of new antibiotics. The current system is designed to generate profit for pharmaceutical companies and the industry is failing to deliver on new health technology for treatments that simply do not and cannot promise high returns of investment. Therefore, we shall put pressure on the European Commission to come up with a proposal, that not only gives guidelines, but puts forward mandatory action.”
“So far the Commission only provided guidelines. Unless we prepare ourselves for the next outbreak or AMR crisis, we will all suffer greatly. It is time for legislation with mandatory action.”
Lord Jim O’Neill, globally renowned AMR expert and top financial analyst and economist
“If there is one thing we have learnt of Covid-19 it is that economics and health are one issue.”
“We are scrambling for fundraising for new vaccines to combat Covid-19: but these are peanuts compared to the funds needed to stop AMR. If we do not resolve this in the next few months, then a Government-owned facility becomes attractive”.
European Commission Acting Director for Research and Development (DG RTD) Irene Norstedt
“Antibiotics are the corner stone of our health system. We need to boost our investments in antibiotics development. We need to work in partnership with industry.”
Dr Peter Liese (MEP, PPE, Germany), medical doctor by training
There are many opportunities to improve the development and production of antibiotics, “but the EU must play its own role.” This requires the urgent development of new models, “notably through a more structured approach”.
Dr Marc Gitzinger, Vice President of BEAM, the alliance of the most advanced SMEs inventing and developing antibiotics
“Europe has a broken economic model. Unless for SMEs new guardrails, push funding and market entry awards are provided urgently, [there will be no new antibiotics].”
“Please explain why, of 440 mln Euro IMI AMR investment, a mere 25-30 mln euro goes directly to drug development SMEs?”
Dr Jon de Vlieger, coordinator of the European Lead Factory (ELF, at Lygature
“Further substantial investment in pre-competitive drug discovery research, based on Europe’s best infrastructure and highest-quality compound library – sharply reducing the invention of a new drug in terms of both time and money – through an integrated and inclusive platform called ELF. An example of a promising antibiotics project is with Oxford University. As a broad drug discovery platform ELF is uniquely positioned to help address urgent topics such as AMR. I invite all stakeholders including the EC to join us in discovering new medicines based upon Europe’s best ideas.”
Dr Jean-Paul Pirnay, Research Director at the Queen Astrid Military Hospital in Brussels
“Harmless virus-based bacteriophages, or phages, have controlled bacteria since the beginning of earth. Phages can be part of a mix with antibiotics to stop AMR. But due to the regulatory approach of the European Commission there is hardly any funding available and its use to save lives is hardly promoted. There should be a new phage regulation to ease funding, research, development and use. But in the meantime, the Belgian Magistral Phage Medicine Framework allowing the development and use of phages can serve as a pan-European solution.”