Challenges and opportunities for incentivising antibiotic research and development in Europe

Michael Anderson, Dimitra Panteli, Robin van Kessel, Gunnar Ljungqvist, Francesca Colombo, Elias Mossialos

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Antimicrobial, and particularly antibiotic resistance are one of the world's biggest challenges today, and urgent action is needed to reinvigorate the antibiotic development pipeline. To inform policy discussions during and after the 2023 Swedish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, we critically appraise incentive options recently proposed by the European Commission, and member states, and consider what has been achieved over the last two decades in relation to antibiotic research and development. While several new antibiotics have achieved regulatory approval in recent years, almost none have innovative characteristics such as new chemical classes or novel mechanisms of action. We consider four incentive options to incentivise research and development of new antibiotics, including subscription payments, market entry rewards, transferable exclusivity extensions, and milestone payments. While each option has advantages and drawbacks, a combination of incentives may be required and continued investment is needed by the EU in push incentives, such as direct funding and grants, to incentivise drug discovery and preclinical stages of development. The EU must also coordinate with international initiatives and support access to new and pre-existing antibiotics in LMICs through platforms such as the WHO, and G7 and G20 group of countries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100705
JournalThe Lancet Regional Health - Europe
Early online date26 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2023


  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Drug development


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