WHO World Antibiotic Awareness Week, November 12-18:
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) – a global challenge

Lucerne, November 13, 2018: MSD underscores its sustained commitment to discovering and developing new antibiotics in the global fight against infectious diseases.

Each November, the World Health Organization’s World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) aims to increase global awareness of antibiotic resistance and to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers, and policy makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance. In Switzerland, the Federation supports the WAAW in connection with the National Strategy on Antibiotic Resistance (StAR).1

One part of the battle against rising levels of resistance is the research and development of new antibiotics. In recent years, however, there has been a sharp drop in the number of companies conducting antibiotic and antifungal research. Of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, only four currently have antibiotics in clinical development.2

For more than 80 years, MSD has played a significant role in the discovery and development of new medicines and vaccines to treat and prevent infectious diseases. Of the 11 new anti-infectives (including vaccines) that were licensed for use in Switzerland in 2016 and 2017, five were developed by MSD.3 Both of the new antibiotics that were licensed for use in Switzerland between 2014 and 2017 came from MSD.3 MSD is currently conducting four clinical trials in the area of anti-infectives.4

At the global level, MSD’s commitment in the area of anti-infectives is focused on four fields of activity: advancement of antibiotic research through collaborations, improvement of responsible access to antibiotics, reduction of potential side-effects from antibiotic production, and continuation of awareness work as part of antimicrobial stewardship.5

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

Antimicrobial therapeutics are drugs that are used to treat and prevent infectious diseases caused by pathogens like bacteria, viruses, funguses, and parasites. Antibiotics that are used to treat bacterial infections are one of the most important types of antimicrobial therapeutics. AMR occurs when a pathogen evolves to survive antimicrobial treatment. Although such a development is unavoidable, AMR arises because of the improper use of antimicrobial therapeutics. Bacteria that are resistant to multiple antibiotics are becoming more frequent – they threaten our ability to treat minor infections and increase the risk of secondary infections that may be common with procedures such as surgery, chemotherapy, and transplants.

What are needed are measures to slow down the development and spread of AMR so that standard antimicrobial therapeutics will be effective for as long as possible.

Situation in Switzerland

Swissnoso, the National Center for Infection Control, estimates that there about 70,000 cases each year of hospital-related infections, resulting in approximately 2,000 patient deaths. Some of these infections are caused by resistant pathogens, but the precise number is not known.1

For more information:
Delivering on our Commitments: http://s3.amazonaws.com/msd18-assets/wpcontent/uploads/2018/08/29152316/MSD-GAAP-Commitments-LoResFINAL.pdf


1 Strategy report of the National Strategy on Antibiotic Resistance (StAR), Federal Office of Public Health: https://www.star.admin.ch/star/de/home.html and https://www.blv.admin.ch/blv/de/home/tiere/tierarzneimittel/antibiotika/nationale-strategie antibiotikaresistenzen--star--.html (viewed on 02.11.2018)

2 https://www.genengnews.com/gen-exclusives/as-novartis-exits-who-will-make-new-antibiotics/77901124 (viewed on 02.11.2018)

3 https://www.swissmedic.ch/swissmedic/de/home/ueber-uns/publikationen/aktueller geschaeftsbericht.html (viewed on 17.10.2018)

4 ClinicalTrials.gov database of privately and publicly funded clinical studies https://clinicaltrials.gov https://clinicaltrials.gov (viewed on 12.11.2018)

5 Delivering on our Commitments: MSD’S ACTIONS TO ADDRESS ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE http://s3.amazonaws.com/msd18-assets/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/29152316/MSD-GAAP-Commitments-LoRes-FINAL.pdf, page 3 (viewed on 12.11.2018)

This information is intended for representatives of the media only. MSD draws attention to the advertising provisions of pharmaceutical law, in particular to the prohibition of advertising to the public for prescription-only pharmaceutical products.

About MSD

MSD is a leading global biopharmaceutical company which has been engaged in life science research for more than a century, developing drugs and vaccines for the most challenging diseases worldwide. MSD is a registered trademark of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, New Jersey, USA. With our prescription drugs, vaccines, biological therapies, and veterinary products, we offer innovative health solutions in over 140 countries. With wide-ranging programs and partnerships, we are also committed to achieving improved access to healthcare. Today MSD is still at the forefront of research for the prevention and treatment of diseases which threaten people and society around the world, including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, new animal diseases, Alzheimer’s, and infectious diseases, including HIV and Ebola. For more information visit www.msd.com and follow us on Twitter.

MSD Human Medicine Switzerland

Switzerland is a key location for the company, which has 700 employees working there in national and international functions. The Human Medicine division in Switzerland is responsible for the distribution of prescription drugs and biopharmaceuticals in the areas of oncology, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, infectious diseases (including fungal infections, antibiotic resistance, HIV/Aids, and hepatitis C), immunology, women’s health as well as vaccines for children, young people, and adults.

MSD is active in clinical research in Switzerland, where the company provides medicines for clinical trials worldwide. Additionally, MSD is committed to raising health literacy and promoting the healthcare economy on a local level. The company is also active in Lucerne, where the MSD headquarters are located. In 2018 the company received certification as a “Top Employer” in Switzerland for the sixth year in succession, as well as the “Top Employer Europe” award for the third time.

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Press contact:
Liliane Elspass, Assoc. Director Policy & Communications
MSD Merck Sharp & Dohme AG
Tel. +41 58 618 34 24 / Mobile 079 235 58 90

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CORP-1276227-0000, 11/2018