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All things Pharma

New partnership to improve access to antibiotics

The Global Antibiotic Research & Development Partnership (GARDP) and the Stop TB Partnership’s Global Drug Facility (GDF), hosted by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), have a new partnership agreement to improve global access to antibiotics.

GDF will incorporate GARDP’s portfolio of antibiotics to improve appropriate and affordable antibiotic access for the benefit of patients and health systems, particularly in low and middle-income countries.

Access to newer antibiotics tends to be limited to a small number of high-income countries. A 2018 study found that only 12 of the 25 new antibiotics that entered the market from 1999 to 2014 were registered in more than 10 countries.
By pooling procurement of new antibiotics in the GARDP portfolio and utilising GDF’s platform, GARDP and GDF will ease the procurement process by individual countries in GARDP territories, reduce wastage, lower prices and accelerate delivery for better patient outcomes and more cost-effective healthcare.

GDF is the largest procurer in the world of tuberculosis (TB) products, including TB diagnostics and therapeutics. Since 2001, GDF interventions have helped millions of people around the world get diagnosed and treated for TB who likely would not have been otherwise. The agreement between GARDP and GDF could have similar benefits for patients with non-TB bacterial infections.

The partnership between GARDP and GDF reflects the increasing need to respond to the crisis of antimicrobial resistance through global coordination.

GDF’s success in facilitating access to TB medicines may hold the key to facilitating access to antibiotics in general. Given the small market size for TB medicines, there are high transaction costs and risks of wasted product. These factors and others disincentivise the development and production of TB medicines.

GDF has overcome access issues by developing critical tools and services, such as its strategic rotating stockpile. This physical inventory of TB medicines, which is stored at the warehouse of GDF’s contracted procurement agent, helps lower prices by pooling procurement, sharing risks and decreasing supplier transaction costs. Since 2019, for example, GDF has overseen a 25-40% price decrease in new World Health Organisation-recommended all-oral regimens for drug-resistant TB.
GARDP in turn engages in license and sublicense agreements and, with local partners, implements product introduction plans, among other key activities. Together these activities aim to support reliable supply of products at sustainable, affordable prices.

GARDP and GDF will initially focus on developing access plans for cefiderocol. This antibiotic is approved in the US, EU, and Japan to treat certain gram-negative bacterial infections with limited treatment options. In the future, GDF will also incorporate, upon regulatory approval, zoliflodacin for uncomplicated gonorrhoea and other antibiotics from GARDP’s portfolio.

Brenda Waning, Chief of GDF at the Stop TB Partnership said: “Adapting GDF’s existing set of tailored systems and tools to address AMR is a cost-effective means to improve the lives of millions of people. We are stronger by working together on all parts of the product life cycle, leveraging the relative strengths across GARDP and GDF.”

Manica Balasegaram, Executive Director of GARDP said: “This partnership is a major step toward placing equity at the heart of the international response to AMR. By positioning AMR, like tuberculosis, as a public health issue to be prioritised, we can build an ecosystem for appropriate access to antibiotics for patients around the world.”

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Joanna Harvey
Joanna Harvey
Marketing and Communication Executive | Uniphar Commercial

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