Work starts on metrics for the 2020 AMR Benchmark
The Access to Medicine Foundation has started the methodology review for the next Antimicrobial Resistance Benchmark. The Foundation is consulting a wide range of experts and stakeholders to explore how to refine its analysis of pharmaceutical company responses to antimicrobial resistance.
“The AMR Benchmark grabs companies’ attention by giving real detail about how their peers are responding to drug resistance. Yet the global debate on how AMR can be tackled is complex and fast-moving. We are now evaluating how the next Benchmark should build on our first baseline measure.” – Gabrielle Breugelmans, Director of Research at the Access to Medicine Foundation.
The first Antimicrobial Resistance Benchmark was published in January 2018. It marked the first independent assessment of how pharmaceutical companies are tackling the rise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). It found that some companies are active on many fronts, including antibiotic research & development and AMR surveillance, while others are taking smaller steps.
Stakeholder consensus building
The Foundation is currently holding face-to-face meetings and calls with experts and stakeholders working on AMR to build an updated consensus on what pharmaceutical companies should prioritise on AMR. The research team is talking with people from the World Health Organization, from NGOs including the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), Open Data Institute (ODI) and other research groups and academic experts, as well as from R&D accelerators such as the Global Antibiotic Research & Development Partnership (GARDP), and pharmaceutical industry organisations such as the AMR Industry Alliance.
This stakeholder dialogue follows a process developed by the Foundation over the past ten years – for building consensus among experts on where pharmaceutical companies have potential for making the biggest change on global health priorities. It is part of the Foundation’s in-depth review of the methodology for the next AMR Benchmark.
Alongside the stakeholder dialogue, the team is completing a series of internal checks on the indicators used for the first Benchmark, which includes looking at the type and quality of data gathered. They are also gathering feedback from the companies evaluated in the 2018 Benchmark: on the Benchmark itself, on the usefulness of the indicators and scopes and on the data-collection processes.
The feedback and insights gathered will inform the next phase of methodology development, when the scope will be defined (i.e., which companies, pathogens, countries and products will be covered) and the new indicator set will be refined for the 2020 Benchmark.
“Some of the big questions remain some of the trickiest to resolve – should the focus only be on antibiotics? Should we bring diagnostics into scope? The answers are slowly starting to take shape,” says Gabrielle.
What happens next?
During the methodology review, strategic guidance is provided by the Expert Committee (EC) for the Antimicrobial Resistance Benchmark, an independent body of experts, from top-level academic centres, donor governments, governments in low- and middle-income countries, investors and pharmaceutical industry representatives. The EC meets to review proposals for the scope, structure and analytical approach of the Benchmark. Where there is disagreement or uncertainty, the Committee recommends potential ways forward. The EC will ratify the methodology toward the end of 2018. The methodology report will be published early in 2019 and the next Benchmark will be published early in 2020. Interested stakeholders are encouraged to contact the Foundation if they wish to contribute to the multi-stakeholder methodology development process. The AMR Benchmark is funded by the UK Department for International Development and the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.
About the 2018 AMR Benchmark
The 2018 AMR Benchmark measured the 30 most active players in antimicrobial development and production and included multinational pharmaceutical companies, biopharmaceutical firms and manufacturers of generic medicines. It evaluated their R&D activities for new antimicrobials, policies for manufacturing antibiotics responsibly, and approaches for making sure antimicrobials are accessible yet used only when needed.
The misuse and overuse of antimicrobials in humans and animals is enabling bacteria and other pathogens to develop resistance. At the same time, millions of people worldwide cannot access antimicrobial medicines when they need them. Both issues must be tackled together to curb AMR, which already kills an estimated 700,000 each year.