Canadian Anti-infective Innovation Network releases report on anti-microbial resistance and antibiotic use

In August 2020, the Canadian Anti-infective Innovation Network (CAIN) released a summary report of the Listening Session with Pharmacists to Inform Public Policy Incentives.

The CAIN was created in 2016 and is currently an alliance of over 100 academic, private sector, government and not-for-profit researchers, clinicians, and advocates who are dedicated to fighting antimicrobial resistance from a One Health perspective.

Antimicrobial-resistant infections are a public health threat and are becoming increasingly difficult to treat, resulting in severe economic consequences. The COVID-19 pandemic further contributed to the exacerbation of the antimicrobial resistance crisis in Canada.

In 2017, the Pan-Canadian Framework for Action on Antimicrobial Resistance and Antibiotic Use was released outlining a coordinated response for Canada to combat antimicrobial resistance.

To support the Research and Innovation pillar of the Framework, CAIN hosted the Listening Session at the 2020 CSHP Professional Practice Conference (PPC) with Canadian hospital and community pharmacists to discuss the challenges of antimicrobial stewardship in hospital settings, collaboration across health disciplines, and incentive policies.

CAIN’s summary report of the Listening Session details the objectives, rationale, and goals of the session; best practices and challenges of antibiotic use; and implementing incentive policies in Canada.

The key challenges and proposed solutions in the summary report are as following:

  1. Access to novel antibiotics is difficult in hospitals due to lengthy approval processes through the Special Access Programme. A potential solution is a top-down approach to ease the antimicrobial approval process.
  2. Transitioning patients from intravenous antibiotics in the hospital to community is disjointed. Developing a provincial program for outpatients to access intravenous antibiotics may improve this transition.
  3. Community pharmacists lack information to decide whether an antimicrobial is appropriate for their patients. A national or provincial framework with patient health records or epidemiologic information for antibiotic susceptibility may overcome this challenge.
  4. Novel antibiotics are cost-prohibitive to use in appropriate situations in hospitals. Centralizing funding at the federal level may remove the financial burden and encourage their use.
  5. Novel antibiotic research and innovation are insufficient due to low return on investment for pharmaceutical companies. Incentives to lighten the financial burden, reducing regulatory barriers, and improving audit and feedback of novel antibiotics for pharmaceutical companies may encourage the development of novel antibiotics.

For detailed information of the challenges and public policy incentives discussed during the Listening Session, please visit the CAIN website to access the full report.