Amid growing fears of antimicrobial-resistance, NHS payment scheme aims for pharma to tackle superbugs

pharmafile | April 12, 2022 | News story | Manufacturing and Production  

NICE has shared that cefiderocol, and ceftazidime/avibactam, have the potential to save lives. The two medications, which fight drug-resistant superbugs, could soon become available to NHS patients in England, who have severe drug-resistant infections and would have otherwise limited or no other treatment options.

The subscription-style payment model is part of a project with NHS England, NHS Improvement, and the Department of Health and Social Care. Nick Crabb, programme director in Nice’s science, evidence and analytics directorate, shared that the project is designed to address the lack of new antimicrobials being developed, and the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance.

Crabb added: “Its ultimate goal is to ensure the NHS has access to effective new antimicrobials to call on when needed and patients aren’t left without treatment options in the face of growing antimicrobial resistance.

“But we cannot address the global threat of antimicrobial resistance alone, since the UK represents only about 3% of the global market for antimicrobials.

“We are sharing our learning from this project with international stakeholders and encourage other countries to offer similar incentives in their own domestic markets, so that collectively we can achieve a meaningful incentive for global investment in antimicrobials.”

NHS Improvement is a non-departmental body in England, and is responsible for overseeing foundation trusts and NHS trusts, alongside independent providers that support NHS-funded care.

Antimicrobial resistance is the ability of microorganisms to survive antimicrobial treatments. The issue is a major and increasing issue threatening modern medicine significantly. For example, without drugs to combat superbugs, routine surgeries will become too dangerous to perform, while researchers estimate that hard-to-treat infections already killing more than a million people per year.

In 2020, only 41 new antimicrobials were being tested in clinical trials. This compares to around 1,800 immuno-oncology drugs.

Ana Ovey

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