Countering Drug Resistance in the Developing World: An Assessment of Incentives Across the Value Chain and Recommendations for Policy Interventions
The emergence and spread of drug resistance is draining available resources and threatening our ability to treat infectious diseases in developing countries. Countering drug resistance requires pharmaceutical companies, government regulators, doctors, and patients to make difficult choices about drug treatment in order to balance efficacy, cost, safety, and sustainability of drugs. These complex tradeoffs are faced along the drug supply chain from the development of new products, procurement of drugs for donor and government distribution, distribution steps to ensure treatment heterogeneity along with quality and availability, and dispensing and use that requires affordability, patient adherence and rational use of drugs and diagnostics. An analysis of the incentives and risks in the drug supply chain reflects that many stakeholders who can influence optimal prescribing of existing drugs; affect higher patient compliance; and ensure the quality of drugs have weak incentives to carry out these activities optimally. This implies a high potential for drug resistance to accelerate. This paper recommends specific measures to better align the incentives of these stakeholders with resistancecountering activities.