The supply of new diagnostics and treatments is insufficient to keep up with the increase in antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and multidrug resistance (MDR) as older medicines are used more widely and microbes develop resistance to them. At the same time, significant quantities of antibiotics are used on patients and animals that do not need them, while others who do need them lack access.

Effective responses to AMR/MDR require effort by both the public and private sectors to develop and disseminate new diagnostics, vaccines and treatments on a global scale, as well as to adapt them to local needs. This calls for good governance to identify priorities, raise awareness and ensure effective stewardship at global, regional and national levels to minimize the development of resistance. Failure to act appropriately in one country will adversely impact all countries as resistance travels fast.

Based on a review of recent literature, this WIPO Global Challenges Report includes a broad overview of current approaches and consortia designed to meet the challenge of research and development (R&D) investment for new treatments. It also examines patent applications by both the public and the private sectors as an indicator of innovative activity.

This report finds that there is a need to address the unique market challenges and specific uncertainties associated with the development of new diagnostics and treatments, where current approaches are not optimal. An effective global framework that achieves the necessary political support while ensuring effective local implementation is crucial. There is an opportunity to complement this work by formulating mechanisms that drive innovation for results to incentivize success, while feeding expertise and experience into stewardship and access efforts. Intellectual property (IP) could be used in a constructive manner as one element in any reward or prize system for AMR/MDR R&D – both in terms of providing an incentive and governance.

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World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

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