Hand drug pharmaceutical health Colin Campbell/Flickr

Aandelen terugkopen of investeren in de toekomst?

LONDEN – Toen de Britse premier David Cameron mij vroeg leiding te geven aan een onderzoek naar het probleem van de anti-microbiële resistentie was het laatste wat ik had verwacht dat het ingaan op zijn verzoek mij ertoe zou brengen vraagtekens te plaatsen bij een van de meest populaire instrumenten voor het financieel beheer van bedrijven: aandelenterugkopen.

Het probleem van de anti-microbiële resistentie is ernstig. Als er geen maatregelen worden getroffen kan dit in 2050 verantwoordelijk zijn voor de dood van zo'n tien miljoen mensen per jaar, méér dan er momenteel aan kanker overlijden, en voor een verbijsterende economische schade van $100 bln zorgen.  Maar gelukkig is er veel dat we kunnen doen om deze dreiging het hoofd te bieden – vooropgesteld dat er toereikende middelen ter beschikking worden gesteld.

Eén belangrijke route die we kunnen volgen is de ontwikkeling van nieuwe geneesmiddelen. In een binnenkort uitkomend rapport schat de Review on Antimicrobial Resistance (de door mij geleide onderzoekscommissie) dat het op de markt brengen van nieuwe anti-microbiële middelen en het verbeteren van het beheer ervan ongeveer $25 mrd zal gaan kosten – een aanzienlijk bedrag, dat echter verbleekt in vergelijking met de kosten voor de samemleving als het probleem niet wordt aangepakt. Het komt ook ruwweg overeen met het bedrag dat twee van de grootste farmaceutische bedrijven dit jaar zullen uitgeven aan het terugkopen van hun eigen aandelen.

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