Companies from the pharmaceutical, vaccine and diagnostics sectors have signed a declaration calling for greater collaboration between industry and governments on antibiotic-resistant infections.
The Declaration on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance - unveiled during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this week - lays out a framework for partnerships to tackle "the challenges of rising drug resistance".
"The industry is calling on governments around the world to now go beyond existing statements of intent and take concrete action," said GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), one of the signatories of the document.
The UK drugmaker said governments should work with companies "to support investment in the development of antibiotics, diagnostics, vaccines, and other products vital for the prevention and treatment of drug-resistant infections".
Over the past decade, there has been an alarming increase in the number of microorganisms that have become resistant to antimicrobials. An independent UK review estimated in 2014 that by 2050 the rise of drug-resistant infections could claim 10m lives a year and result in a cumulative loss from global output of $100trn.
Peter Piot, director of London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: "Protecting public health by safeguarding our current antibiotics and developing new antibiotics or vaccines is an important priority now more than ever.
"The emergence of so-called 'superbugs' ... forces our attention to the inadequacy of our therapeutic arsenals and the need for new incentive frameworks for antibiotics to stimulate the level of R&D investments so critically needed.”
The signatories to the declaration pledge to encourage the better use of existing antibiotics, increase investment in R&D to fine new antimicrobials, diagnostic s and vaccines and other interventions, and ensuring affordable access to "high-quality antibiotics for all".
The declaration will be updated every two years, to take account of the "evolving global landscape of antimicrobial resistance and changing challenges and priorities".
There have been some encouraging signs that antimicrobial pipelines are starting to fill after years of stagnation, with a handful of new drugs reaching the market last year, but there is widespread acknowledgement that much more needs to be done.