Spotlight 29/01/18 | 2018 Antimicrobial Resistance Benchmark

Amid other happenings at last week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the Access to Medicines Foundation released the new 2018 Antimicrobial Resistance Benchmark. This new index is billed as “the first independent and public tool for measuring how pharmaceutical companies are responding to AMR.”

The Antimicrobial Benchmark assesses 30 pharmaceutical companies, including those with the largest research and development (R&D) divisions, the largest market presence, and with specific expertise in AMR-relevant drugs and vaccines. The companies were evaluated against defined priorities, which the Foundation identified in consultation with experts drawn from a variety of backgrounds and institutions. These priorities fall into general categories of antimicrobial R&D, responsible manufacturing practices, and access and stewardship. For example, some companies are altering sales staff compensation in order to reduce incentives to over-sell antibiotics; limiting the concentration of antibiotics discharged in factory waste water; and participating in surveillance of “superbugs.”

The Benchmark’s stated goal is “to guide and incentivise pharmaceutical companies to fulfil their potential in limiting AMR.” Given the growing clout of activist investors and shareholders, including those motivated by concerns on environmental and social issues ranging from climate change to the impact of iPhones on teenagers – could the new Antimicrobial Benchmark help to prioritize AMR as a new focus of corporate responsibility?