Australia’s Next Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy: 2020 and Beyond


AusBiotech has responded to the public consultation on Australia’s Next Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy: 2020 and Beyond, stressing that industry needs to be more explicitly involved as a key stakeholder.

AusBiotech is supportive of efforts to enhance the global response to antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and of the comprehensive refresh of the Strategy.

Antimicrobials are a critical weapon in our fight against human and animal disease. The entire life sciences eco-system – including industry – has a stake in the integrity and ongoing efficacy of these products and in the development of new treatments that will continue to help protect us from microbial disease. The ongoing involvement with industry to progress the AMR research agenda is critical.

The UN has labelled AMR ‘a global crisis’, with approximately 700,000 people dying every year from drug resistant infections. This could increase to 10 million by 2050 unless action is taken.

The Strategy highlights ‘Explore opportunities to increase support for research and development, including incentives for greater private sector investment’ as one of 35 priority actions. The unique challenges in developing new treatments must be considered within options to support industry-led R&D and incentives. These include the need for careful, phased human clinical trials, long lead times for products to reach the market, and significant costs incurred often before revenue is achieved. These costs can exceed $1 billion. It is also research intensive, with average spending on R&D representing the industry’s largest operational cost, at about 21 per cent of total expenditure.

These significant challenges and risks are compounded by the low returns available to industry for AMR, which further disincentivises AMR research and product development.

To address these challenges, greater incentivisation for industry is required, and this needs to be reflected in the Strategy. Incentives should support the development of treatments across the developmental cycle. Access to Australia’s R&D Tax Incentive is critical; it is the most significant policy for translating health and medical research into life-saving and enhancing products. AusBiotech continues to seek greater and continued commitment and support for keeping this game-changing programme in its current state.

Industry involvement is essential in the Strategy’s implementation and to achieving the 35 priority action areas identified so far. The Strategy is being led by the Department of Health (DoH) and the Department of Agriculture (DoA).

AusBiotech is well-placed to help DoH and DoA act on the issues raised in the paper, and welcomes opportunities to give industry a greater voice as the Strategy is finalised.

Read the full submission here.