Statement |

136th WHO EB - MSF intervention on Antimicrobial resistance

136th WHO Executive Board
Agenda item 8.1
Antimicrobial resistance

Speaker: Dr Arlene Chua

Médecins Sans Frontières welcomes the Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial resistance as an urgent first step towards addressing antibiotic resistance.

MSF is witnessing first-hand the emergence of antibiotic resistance in our projects, including in child nutritional centres in Niger and in adult trauma patients in Syria and Jordan. In 2014, we started to use polymyxin, considered to be the last line of antibiotics, for multidrug-resistant gram negative infections.

MSF welcomes the call for rapid, low-cost diagnostic tools, an essential but often overlooked part of addressing antimicrobial resistance.  Diagnostic tests are critical in appropriate antibiotic use, as well as for surveillance of resistance. There is a need for inexpensive point-of-care and rapid tests designed and developed for resource-limited settings.

With few antibiotics in the pipeline, MSF believes the solution to the current market failure in medical research for new antibiotics lies in de-linking the cost of research and development from the volumes of sales and revenues. Public, private and philanthropic funders should embrace the concept of ‘de-linkage’, developing new products that are affordable for all.

We urge WHO and Member States to work towards a robust response by implementing key points in the Plan.

While we wait for new antibiotics to be developed, WHO should:

  • push regulatory authorities to revise registration policies for old antibiotics that are being revived for treating multidrug-resistant infections, harmonising their recommended dosing and indications, and promote manufacturing of quality-assured antibiotics;

Member states should:

  • support the call for innovative new mechanisms to invest in research and development of new antibiotics, ensuring the cost of the R&D is ‘de-linked’ from the price of the end product; and

  • ensure that use of new products is governed by a public health framework that conserves the effectiveness and longevity of new antibiotics, while securing affordability and access to those in need.