Antibiotic resistance is closely linked to economics. Resistance is costly for the individual, health-care settings and the society. At the same time, the wish to preserve new antibiotics as last-resort drugs has made these medicines less profitable for the pharmaceutical industry and contributed to the innovation gap.
The economic burden of antibiotic resistance is related to treatment failures, need for more expensive drugs, hospitalisation and excessive mortality. This will affect the individual patients as well as health care and the society. Restrictive use is recommended, especially for new antibiotics, in order to prevent emergence of resistance to these valuable drugs. However, this will also reduce the profits of these drugs and the financial incentives for the pharmaceutical industry. Many companies have disengaged from research and development of antibiotics during the past decades. Higher pricing of antibiotics will not resolve the problem but will result in insufficient access to effective antibiotic for certain patient groups.
Therefore, novel strategies are warranted that can incentivise innovation and development of new drugs while at the same time ensuring responsible use and access to effective antibiotics for patients in medical need of these drugs worldwide. Public-private partnerships have been initiated in an attempt to find new ways of collaboration between different sectors, health care professionals, researchers, governmental organisations and the pharmaceutical industry. New business models that take into account the needs for innovation, conservation and access are crucial in the collaborative efforts to improve the situation.