Systems, not pills: The options market for antibiotics seeks to rejuvenate the antibiotic pipeline

David M. Brogan, Elias Mossialos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Over the past decade, there has been a growing recognition of the increasing growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria and a relative decline in the production of novel antibacterial therapies. The combination of these two forces poses a potentially grave threat to global health, in both developed and developing countries. Current market forces do not provide appropriate incentives to stimulate new antibiotic development, thus we propose a new incentive mechanism: the Options Market for Antibiotics. This mechanism, modelled on the principle of financial call options, allows payers to buy the right, in early stages of development, to purchase antibiotics at a discounted price if and when they ever make it to market approval. This paper demonstrates the effect of such a model on the expected Net Present Value of a typical antibacterial project. As part of an integrated strategy to confront the impending antibiotic crisis, the Options Market for Antibiotics may effectively stimulate corporate and public investment into antibiotic research and development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-172
Number of pages6
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • Antibiotics
  • Incentives
  • Options market
  • Research and development


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