An Antibiotic’s Journey from Marketing Authorization to Use, Norway (Bull World Health Organ 2017;95:220–226)
(2017; 7 pages)

Abstract

Here we describe in detail marketing authorization and reimbursement procedures for medicinal products in Norway, with particular reference to nine novel antibiotics that received marketing authorization between 2005 and 2015. The description illustrates that, in places like Norway, with effective antibiotic stewardship policies and an associated low prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection, there is little need for newer, more expensive antibiotics whose therapeutic superiority to existing compounds has not been demonstrated. Since resistance begins to emerge as soon as an antibiotic is used, Norway’s practice of leaving newer antibiotics on the shelf is consistent with the goal of prolonging the effectiveness of newer antibiotics. An unintended consequence is that the country has signalled to the private sector that there is little commercial value in novel antibiotics, which may nevertheless still be needed to treat rare or emerging infections. Every country aims to improve infection control and to promote responsible antibiotic use. However, as progress is made, antibiotic-resistant bacteria should become less common and, consequently, the need for, and the commercial value of, novel antibiotics will probably be reduced. Nevertheless, antibiotic innovation continues to be essential. This dilemma will have to be resolved through the introduction of alternative reward systems for antibiotic innovation. The DRIVE-AB (Driving re-investment in research and development and responsible antibiotic use) research consortium in Europe has been tasked with identifying ways of meeting this challenge.

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