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.
“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 now evaluating how the next Benchmark should build on our first baseline measure.” – Gabrielle Breugelmans, Director of Research at the Access to Medicine Foundation
Stakeholder consensus building
For ten years, the Access to Medicine Foundation has been tracking pharmaceutical companies, to compare how they address access to medicine in low- and middle-income countries. In that time, we have developed a robust process for building consensus among experts on where pharmaceutical companies have potential for making the biggest change on global health priorities.
The methodology review takes place in Year 1 of each Benchmark Cycle. Year 2 is spent collecting, verifying and analysing data from pharmaceutical companies before a new AMR Benchmark can be published in early 2020.
Our research team is now applying this consensus-building process to conduct an in-depth point-by-point review of the methodology for the next AMR Benchmark.
The team is currently 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 Foundation is building an updated consensus on what pharma companies should prioritise by holding face-to-face meetings and calls with experts and stakeholders working on AMR. For example, the research team is talking with people from the World Health Organization, from NGOs including the Medicines Patents 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 from pharmaceutical industry organisations such as the AMR Industry Alliance.
The feedback and insights gathered will inform the next phase of methodology development: defining the scope (i.e., which companies, pathogens, countries and products will be covered) and refining the new indicator set of 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.
The Access to Medicine Foundation is currently conducting its stakeholder dialogue for the 2020 Antimicrobial Benchmark. 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. Read more >>