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Bad Bacteria: Fighting Antimicrobial Resistance (Q&A)
Q: What is antimicrobial resistance (AMR)?
A: The World Health Organization characterizes antimicrobial resistance as one of the biggest threats to global health, which can affect anyone, at any age, in any country. Currently, 700,000 deaths each year are attributed to antimicrobial resistance globally, which could potentially increase to 10 million deaths a year by 2050 without further intervention.
Q: What is Pfizer’s view on AMR?
A: We believe there are four main areas as a society that we need to focus on
- 1. How we can conserve antibiotics for those who really need them: which relies, among other things, on new, improved diagnostic tools and improved education on the responsible use of antibiotics for healthcare professionals and the public.
- 2. How we improve our ongoing global surveillance of infection and resistance levels to help health systems better plan and adapt their usage, and for the pharmaceutical industry to identify where new treatments and vaccines are needed.
- 3. How we improve the use of preventative vaccines to reduce infection and protect our antibiotics.
- 4. How we ensure the right economic models are in place to encourage and support further investment and new research and development and a sustainable marketplace.
Q: What is Pfizer doing to combat AMR?
A: Today, Pfizer is the leading global provider of anti-bacterial and anti-fungal medicines, offering patients access to a diverse portfolio of more than 80 medicines.
Pfizer is developing a molecule currently in Phase 2 clinical trials to address the unmet medical need for the treatment of metallo-beta-lactamase producing Gram negative bacteria. With the launch of a new antibiotic in the UK and Germany, Pfizer is addressing two of the three “critical” pathogens identified by the WHO in its first ever list of antibiotic resistant “priority pathogens which pose the greatest threat to human health” launched on February 27th 2017 (the antibiotic addresses Pseudomonas Aeruginosa and Enterobacteriaceae). We also continue to evaluate opportunities to introduce late stage molecules that can address unmet medical needs.
Vaccines can prevent an infection from occurring. By preventing infection, the need for subsequent antibiotic treatment for the infection can also be avoided and prevention of disease can help to stop bacteria from circulating and infecting others, including antibiotic resistant strains. Pfizer has a robust R&D Program to develop and market several vaccines.
- • In 2015, Pfizer began enrolling patients in a Phase 2 clinical trial of our investigational Staphylococcus aureus vaccine, designed to help prevent infection by methicillin – resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
- • We also previously announced that we plan to begin Phase 3 for our Clostridium difficile vaccine development program in the first half of 2017. This investigational vaccine is aimed at the bacteria responsible for 29,000 US deaths each year. This bacterium has intrinsic resistance to several antibiotics.
Pfizer sponsors the most comprehensive global antimicrobial resistance surveillance program in the Industry. The goals of these programs are to provide important resistance information and to assess antibiotic stewardship and access. As of today, Pfizer surveillance programs have generated data for 13 years across 60 countries, and have served as the primary sources for 128 scientific publications.
Roadmap and Declaration
Pfizer has signed both the Industry Roadmap and the Declaration on AMR, and we are proud to be a part of these unprecedented steps taken by our industry to help address the growing public burden of anti-microbial resistance.
The Industry roadmap outlines four key commitments we pledge to deliver by 2020 to reduce the incidence of AMR. These include:
- 1. Support measures to reduce environmental pollution from production of antibiotics
- 2. Commit to antibiotics only being used in patients who need them
- 3. Support mechanisms to ensure affordable access to antibiotics and vaccines
- 4. Support new ways to overcome the scientific challenges of creating new antibiotic, vaccines and diagnostics.
With these commitments by industry, we call on governments and the public health community to take further action to strengthen public health systems and support measures that will help enable continued innovation in the development of new antibiotics and vaccines.