Reduced profit margins hampering antibiotics production
15 May 2017
Antibiotics used to treat common infections are becoming more difficult to access because they are less profitable for manufacturers.
That is according to new analysis by a group of researchers that say the problem is “particularly acute” for formulations needed to treat babies and children.
Lead researcher professor Céline Pulcini said that despite many of these drugs being available for several years, their patents have expired, which means manufacturers “may” see them as less attractive prospects to register, sell and market on a global scale.
The researchers found that the absence of marketing of older antibiotics is primarily caused by the high costs involved in registering medicines in multiple countries. This is combined with the relatively small market for these antibiotics, which are sold as low-cost generics and for short courses of treatment, the researchers said.
Pulcini said: “While it's important that we continue to look for new effective antibiotics, we must put equal effort into ensuring that patients of all ages have access to existing effective treatments.”
The professor added that the availability of these essential medicines must be made a priority globally.
“If no action is taken we will lose these excellent and relatively cheap antibiotics that are needed on a daily basis to treat common bacterial infections worldwide. Instead, we will end up using less efficient antibiotics, leading to worse clinical outcomes for patients, and adding to the problem of antibiotic resistance,” she said.
A full account of the research has been published in the journal Clinical Microbiology and Infection.