Advancing our program to combat antimicrobial resistance

The WHO has declared antimicrobial resistance (AMR) – when antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines become ineffective and infections become increasingly difficult or impossible to treat – as one of the major public health threats facing humanity.

Novartis supports the global scientific consensus that overuse, underuse and misuse of antimicrobial medicines all contribute to the spread of AMR, and that a balanced approach encompassing prevention, stewardship, access and innovation is needed.

Responsible manufacturing is a central part of our efforts. This includes minimizing antibiotic residues – especially into water bodies – and reducing waste. Please see the section “Enhancing environmental sustainability” for more information.

We also continue to invest in new antibiotic manufacturing facilities. In 2021, our Sandoz Division – which is the world’s largest volume provider of generic antibiotics – confirmed it would invest more than EUR 100 million in new manufacturing technology at its Kundl site in Austria, the hub of the only remaining end-to-end antibiotic manufacturing network in Europe. Sandoz also announced a EUR 50 million investment in new production technology and increased manufacturing capacity at its Palafolls site in Spain.

Education on responsible use is key to tackling AMR. We embarked on a program with MedShr to train healthcare professionals on antimicrobial resistance, reaching 250 000 individuals through 33 000 engagements. AMR education is a key feature of our partnerships with Save the Children in Kenya and with the Commonwealth Pharmacists Association across SSA. We also engage with communities directly in rural areas of Africa and India as part of our Healthy Family program, including on water rehabilitation projects in Kenya and India.

We embarked on a program with MedShr to train healthcare professionals on antimicrobial resistance, reaching 250 000 individuals through 33 000 engagement

In addition, we contribute to multistakeholder solutions to combat AMR. For instance, through STELLA and Bio-Campus, we are developing solutions for enhanced AMR surveillance and recommendations for improved treatment guidelines to mitigate the risk of resistance. As a member of the AMR Industry Alliance, we are working with peer companies to roll out voluntary standards for responsible manufacturing, and with the Responsible Antibiotics Manufacturing Platform (RAMP) on responsible antibiotic manufacturing. We also extended our collaboration with Ares Genetics to further leverage molecular predictive antibiotic susceptibility testing to support physicians in selecting appropriate antibiotic therapies.

We support innovation and adaptive development in antibiotics. For example, Novartis is an investor in the AMR Action Fund together with other pharmaceutical companies, philanthropic organizations and development banks. The initiative aims to bring two to four new antibiotics to patients by 2030.

Responding to the call from UNICEF to combat childhood pneumonia, Sandoz developed pediatric amoxicillin, today recommended by the WHO as first-line treatment for childhood pneumonia.

No. 4

Antimicrobial Resistance Benchmark

improving our ranking by one place since 2020

Novartis was ranked fourth in the 2021 Antimicrobial Resistance Benchmark (from fifth in 2020), which evaluates the performance of the world’s 17 largest pharmaceutical companies in the fight against AMR. We are recognized for performing strongly in the areas of responsible manufacturing, appropriate access and stewardship.

Our AMR approach

We take a balanced, cross-sectorial approach to combating AMR.

  • Responsible manufacturing to help reduce the environmental impact of the production of antibiotics
  • Manufacturing site in Austria is hub of last vertically integrated antibiotic production chain in Europe
  • Strengthening high-quality, affordable antibiotics portfolio
  • Adaptable portfolio for tailored AMR response
  • Pediatric-specific formulations
  • Stable formulations for LMICs
Responsible use
  • Balancing access efforts with global and local initiatives to ensure prescription of the right drug at the right dose for the right duration
  • New tools and technological solutions for advocacy, surveillance, diagnostics and education
  • Healthcare professional/patient education, user-friendly packs, awareness campaigns, safe drug disposal
Innovation and adaptive development
  • Focusing on areas where we can really make a difference
  • AMR Action Fund