Fix the broken antibiotic business model!


Traditional business models linking revenues to sales will not support a pipe-line of new antibiotics, nor responsible use of the same. In a recently published opinion piece in New York Times, Professor Kevin Outterson, Boston Law School and executive director of Carb-X, describes why policy decisions taken so far have failed, and why we need new economic models to secure the pipeline of new antibiotics, a point he also made at Uppsala Health Summit in 2015.

At Uppsala Health Summit 2015, ‘A world without antibiotics’, a central discussion point was the need for new economic models. We need economic models that allow for the development of new antibiotics, while reducing unnecessary use of the drug, models that de-link companies’ revenues from their sales volumes.

Kevin Outterson, Professor and Co-Director of Health Law at Boston University, was one of the speakers at Uppsala Health Summit, also a partner of the IMI research project DRIVE AB  developing new economic models encouraging development of new antibiotics, while safeguarding responsible use.

In his article, Kevin Outterson, describes how US policies, granting companies exclusive right to sell a new antibiotic during extended periods, did not stimulate innovations as was intended. Instead, Professor Outterson, suggests a public sector financing of successful innovations. This will be expensive, he and his co-author Nicholas Bagley, University of Michigan, conclude: “you can’t defeat bacteria on the cheap”.