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Public Library of Science




1. The current business model for antibiotics is plagued by market failures and perverse incentives that both work against conservation efforts and provide insufficient rewards to drive the development of much-needed new treatments for resistant infection.

2. Many new incentive mechanisms have been proposed to realign incentives and support innovation and conservation over the long term. The most promising of these are based on the idea of delinking rewards from sales volume of the antibiotic — the notion of “delinkage.”

3. Some critical design issues for delinkage remain, such as how to secure access to badly needed new products when resistance renders existing treatments ineffective, an increasingly urgent global problem. The issue of global access to antibiotics is not sufficiently addressed de facto by a delinked mechanism, and, as such, it must be addressed explicitly through specific design features of new mechanisms, including defining the eligibility criteria for delinkage rewards and appropriate management of intellectual property.

4. The idea of establishing a new business model to drive antibiotic development and improve conservation currently has the world’s attention. We must now work quickly to examine the remaining design questions to address this major public health concern for the longer term.

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