How can we decisively step-up our fight against the growing AMR threat?

Today, it is established, and to a large extent acknowledged that AMR is a devastating yet largely underestimated threat of dramatic proportions globally.

By Elcin Barker Ergun, CEO at Menarini Group

In fact, in 2019, it has been confirmed that bacterial AMR accounted for 4.95 million deaths worldwide, with 1.27 million of these deaths directly attributable to AMR1. This placed bacterial AMR as one of the 3 most critical threats to patient lives, and which continues to grow on a global scale. 2

As we seek a better understanding of how we can increase our efficiency in dealing with this increasing AMR threat, it is important to keep in mind that of the 1.27 million deaths attributed to bacterial AMR, 6 leading pathogens are responsible for over 80% of these deaths1.

In an effort to address this threat, numerous initiatives have been taken, including the IDSA 10 x ’20 with the goal of boosting the increasingly scarce antibiotics pipeline. Yet the threat continues to spread as most developed and approved antibiotics never make it to the patients-in-need.

Specifically, over the last decade (2010-2020), only 2 antibiotics out of the 16 developed and approved are accessible to patients-in-need including in the 14 highest-income countries3. This unfavorable situation is further illustrated when put in perspective with other life-threatening diseases such as cancer, where, as of December 2019, more than 700 oncological molecules are in the late phases of development4.

Fully aware of these challenges and the urgency of both patient and clinicians needs, Menarini Group has undertaken a bold and continuous commitment to efficiently contribute towards the fight against AMR threat.

Keeping the patient at the heart of our AMR commitment, we strongly believe it is imperative to support both the strengthening of the increasingly sparse antibiotics pipeline, while also striving to overcome the limitations of the current economic models with the objective to secure access for all patients-in-need coupled with a responsible use of antibiotics.

We also believe that the efficiency of our contribution to AMR fight may be achieved through both securing patient access to the newly developed antibiotics as well as seeking to guarantee availability of microbiological rapid diagnostic testing.

Our relentless efforts mainly concentrate on targeting the 6 leading bacterial pathogens mentioned above as it is these which contribute to the large majority of the millions of deaths attributable to AMR each year.

To further reinforce its commitment to providing effective and innovative solutions to treat resistant infections, Menarini has become an active partner of the AMR Action Fund, along with other leading pharmaceutical companies investing more than $1 billion, with the aim of bringing 2 to 4 innovative antibiotics to patients by the end of 2030.

Today Menarini is one of the very few European-based pharmaceutical companies currently investing in the R&D of new antibiotics and bringing life-saving drugs to patients who need them.

While the commitment and contribution of Pharma and diagnostics are critical, we also understand the need to account for the complexity of AMR threat, a complexity which calls for a synergistic approach involving several other critical players.

These include other major stakeholders such as public health and policymakers, animal health, environment, energy and agriculture, as well as food safety.

Finally, the dramatic experience of COVID-19 global pandemic has been another important wake-up call.

This further highlights the urgency and the need for ongoing and coordinated efforts in order to enhance the efficiency of our fight against AMR and infectious diseases.

1.Global burden of bacterial antimicrobial resistance in 2019: a systematic analysis. Mohsen Naghavi et al. Lancet 2022; 399: 629–5
2.Global Burden of Disease Collaborative Network 2019 report.
3.Patient Access to Antibacterial. Kevin Outterson et al., CID July 2021
4.WHO website. Accessed Feb 2023