Research into new antibiotics and non-antibiotic approaches

New antibiotics need to be developed, which doctors will be able to use when existing drugs no longer work. Non-antibiotic treatments can also reduce our dependence on antibiotics. The government encourages companies to develop new drugs and treatments. New technologies can also help prevent infections.

Research collaboration on antibiotic resistance

It is vital that new antibiotics are developed. The government has launched a national research agenda to promote research collaborations between universities, drug companies and university hospitals.

Development of new antibiotics

Drug companies are not eager to develop new antibiotics. The process is very costly. To prevent bacteria quickly becoming resistant to the new drugs, doctors will try to use them only as a last resort. So the companies don’t expect to get a good return on their investment. The government wants to join forces with other countries to see what incentives could encourage pharmaceutical companies to develop new antibiotics.

Non-antibiotic approaches

The market offers a number of other treatments or approaches as alternatives to antibiotics. For instance, non-antibiotic treatments are available for cystitis and acne. The medical professions, the National Health Care Institute and health insurers are assessing whether they should include these other approaches in their medical guidelines and in health insurance cover.

New health technologies

New technologies are also being developed that could prevent infections and the transmission of multidrug-resistant bacteria. ZonMw, the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development, is studying innovative approaches for the healthcare sector in its Priority Medicines Antimicrobial Resistance programme.