APPG Members call for TB R&D to be prioritised

During a Westminster Hall debate on incentivising research and development of new antibiotics last Tuesday, APPG Members Jim Fitzpatrick MP and Jim Shannon MP highlighted the importance of tackling Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) to ending the epidemic of TB.

AMR presents a serious threat to global health security and is threatening to undo major gains in the control of infectious diseases.

The discovery of antibiotics revolutionised healthcare, but pathogens have evolved to resist new drugs; resistance has increasingly become a problem as the pace at which new antibiotics are discovered has slowed and antibiotic use (including misuse and overuse) has arisen.

If left unaddressed, 300 million people will die prematurely because of AMR by 2050 and the world's GDP will be at least 2% lower.

The UK Government has shown real leadership on this issue: prioritising drug resistance in its aid strategy, creating the cross-departmental Ross Fund to invest in infectious disease R&D, and commissioning the independent AMR Review which is developing a set of recommendations that will have international impact.

In addition, in a speech to the IMF last month, George Osborne said: "Unless we take global action, antimicrobial resistance will become an even greater threat to mankind than cancer is."

In their remarks during the debate Mr Fitzpatrick and Mr Shannon outlined the humanitarian and economic consequences of failing to address AMR; noting, for example, that TB already accounts for one third of the world's AMR deaths.

Mr Fitzpatrick also mentioned the APPG's report Price of a Pandemic that was published last year and made several recommendations for the Government.

The transcript of the debate is available here: