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Valuing antibiotics: The role of the hospital clinician

Masterton, Robert G., Bassetti, Matteo, Chastre, Jean, MacDonald, Alan G., Rello, Jordi, Seaton, R. Andrew, Welte, Tobias, Wilcox, Mark H., West, Peter
International journal of antimicrobial agents 2019 v.54 no.1 pp. 16-22
antibiotic resistance, antibiotics, economic incentives, health services, hospitals, marketing, models, monitoring, patients, pharmaceutical industry, public health, society, therapeutics
The global public health threat of antibiotic-resistant infections as well as the lack of new treatments in clinical development is a critical issue. Reasons for this include diminished commercial incentives for pharmaceutical companies to develop new antibiotics, which part-reflects a shift in antibiotic marketing paradigm from broad deployment to targeted therapy in relatively small patient populations. Such changes are encouraged by antimicrobial stewardship (AMS). Other factors include a lack of recognition in the traditional assessment of new antibiotics by regulators, health technology assessors and payers of the broad range of benefits of new agents, particularly their value to health care, economies and society. Recognising the seriousness of the situation, there have been recent changes and proposals by regulators for modification of the assessment process to accommodate a broader range of acceptable data supporting new drug applications. There is also increasing recognition by some payers of the societal benefit of new antibiotics and the need for financial incentives for those developing high-priority antibiotics. However, progress is slow, with recent publications focusing on industry and strategic perspectives rather than clinical implications. In this opinion piece, we therefore focus on clinicians and the practical steps they can take to drive and contribute to increasing awareness and understanding of the value of antibiotics. This includes identifying and gathering appropriate alternative data sources, educating on AMS and prescribing habits, and contributing to international antibiotic susceptibility surveillance models.