Antimicrobials are a key and indispensable part of cancer treatment. However, access to appropriate treatments (medicines and diagnostics) for infections are not always a given and is a major problem globally. Most of the new antibiotics are not available in many parts of the world. In fact, of the 25 new medicines developed between 1999 and 2014, only 12 had registered sales in more than ten countries. Shortages and lack of access to older antibiotics in many countries is also a chronic problem, and the reasons for this include fragile - sometimes single-source - supply chains, regulatory challenges and the lack of commercial incentives to manufacture, register and distribute these medicines.
Ensuring access to these treatments need to be addressed urgently. While there is momentum in the right direction, more needs to be done. A number of initiatives to address some of these problems exists, including from governments - like the UK's Global AMR Innovation Fund (GAMRIF) -, R&D-funders - like CARB-X - and non-profit drug-developers - such as GARDP and the yet to be operational industry-funded AMR Action Fund. However, new and more collaborative approaches to R&D investment are needed to address the 30+ years innovation gap for new antibiotics. Crucially, efforts should ensure affordable access to and rational use of new and existing treatments.
This Special Focus Dialogue, offered in occasion of the London Global Cancer Week, brought together experts from the cancer and AMR fields to discuss what action needs to be taken to address this challenge.
This session was a collaboration of UICC with the Wellcome Trust, the Norwegian Cancer Society and ReAct Europe.