Researchers propose economic approach to tackling antimicrobial resistance

Antimicrobial resistance is a major policy issue the world must address, a group of 11 researchers wrote in an article for Science.

The researchers, who stem from various universities, hospitals and institutions in the U.K., sought to look at antimicrobial resistance from an economics perspective.

They noted the difficulty of modeling the global trajectory of antimicrobial resistance — along with its resulting effects on health and economy — due to various factors such as which drug and pathogen are involved, the mechanism of antibiotic resistance, and the prevalence of that pathogen.

However, researchers said economic policies are necessary to incentivize the introduction of interventions to decrease unnecessary antibiotic use and stimulate more research and development into new antibiotics.

"Rather than taxing the price and letting the market dictate the quantity of antibiotics supplied, an alternative may be to establish a regulatory body that issue prescribers tradable permits and to allow the market to determine the price," the researchers added. "Such an approach could create a predictable revenue stream through more-foreseeable licensing fees for important antibiotics by decoupling the return on investment from the volume used."

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