The NHS leads the way with world’s first drug ‘subscription’ scheme to tackle global antimicrobial resistance crisis

  06 September 2019

Starting in January this year, the UK is breaking the link between prescription volume and revenue by trialling a new and untested healthcare initiative to combat antimicrobial resistance. This trial is part of the Government’s National Action Plan, led by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)2, NHS England and NHS Improvement. A ‘subscription’ style payment model has been developed to incentivise pharmaceutical companies to focus their investments on antibiotic discovery to tackle the problem of resistant infections.

The system will offer upfront payment to pharmaceutical companies for access to their product for a specified period of time. The payment will be decided according to the value of the product to the NHS, such as a drug for a high-priority infection, meaning that pharmaceutical companies will receive payment regardless of product usage, whether it is used daily or stored as an emergency reserve. Crucially this allows pharma to generate revenue to fund R&D without medics needing to use the products. We can keep the most efficacious products back and reduce the risk of resistance.

The government is calling upon any R&D teams with products which might be suitable for the initial test phase of the programme to come forward and so, with ‘the UK at the forefront of the AMR fight’, this 5 year-plan could provide a solution for the currently stagnant industry of antibiotic discovery.

Authors: Oliver Sexton
Smart Innovations  
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