The private sector can contribute substantially to tackling AMR, and private-sector capacities and creativity in this area are only just beginning to be tapped. The World Bank Group’s ability to engage national and global business actors is a strong comparative advantage.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is the arm of the Bank Group that invests in and advises private-sector companies. IFC is active in the animal protein sector through investment and advisory work. In engagement with its clients in animal production, IFC reviews operational practices and provides benchmarking for clients on good industry practices, including the use of veterinary services and antibiotics. IFC will seek to deepen this partnership by developing a more focused advisory offering as part of its animal protein advisory platform. Where government regulations evolve towards a more focused use of antibiotics, IFC will seek to partner with private producers and their associations to support the transition of the sector through management practices and investment. IFC is also active in the private health care sector, mainly through the support of health service
providers and companies that manufacture or distribute affordable pharmaceuticals or medical devices. IFC has developed a Quality Assessment Tool used to assess health service companies on various clinical governance and patient safety criteria. IFC plans to enhance this tool and, in the process, incorporate best practices for implementing policies, protocols, and training around antimicrobial drug use.
A clear opportunity for private-sector engagement in the AMR challenge is for pharmaceutical and biotech firms to pursue development of new antimicrobials and related technologies, such as rapid diagnostic tests that could inform antimicrobial prescribing decisions at the point of care. The complex topic of antimicrobial drug development is well analysed elsewhere (Review on Antimicrobial Resistance 2015). Here, we note only that the World Bank Group and other development finance institutions might play a role in creating fresh incentives for pharmaceutical companies to engage in antimicrobial research. One approach is “delinking” company profits for any new antimicrobial product from the actual sales volumes, through a number of possible mechanisms. Country policy makers, in particular among the G77, have pressed for the implementation of delinking strategies.