Antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

DHSC, Defra & UKHSA launch five-year plan to tackle antimicrobial resistance

The government has launched a new five-year plan today to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in a bid to improve public health and strengthen ties with industry.

The plan is a collaboration between the Department of Health and Social Care, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the UK Health Security Agency.

Reducing the use of antimicrobials, strengthening surveillance of drug-resistant infections, and incentivising industry to develop a new generation of treatments are all targets.

Innovations like the world-first antimicrobial ‘subscription model’ could be expanded also – the project was launched as a pilot in 2019 and involves companies being paid a fixed annual fee for antimicrobials based on their value to the NHS, rather than overall volume used.

Oliver Dowden comment

All told, the plan has nine strategic outcomes, centred around four key themes, which include:

  • Reducing the need for, and unintentional exposure to, antimicrobials
  • Optimising the use of antimicrobials
  • Investing in innovation, supply and access
  • Being a good global partner

The plan will support the UK’s 20-year vision for AMR, which will see it contained, controlled and mitigated to protect public health.

Health minister, Maria Caulfield, said: “Almost 8,000 people in the UK die from drug resistant infections every year. If this continues to spread, common infections and injuries that were once easily treatable become harder, and in some cases impossible, to treat.   

“Our five-year action plan outlines our commitment to leading the way in tackling AMR, including through expanding our world-first subscription model to accelerate research into new treatments.”

This new plan is the second in a series of plans geared towards combating AMR, with the first launching in 2019.

This latest plan will incorporate learnings from the Covid-19 pandemic as well as commitments to infection prevention and control, plus the development of diagnostics and vaccines.

CEO at the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, Richard Torbett, added: “The UK has been proactive in finding practical solutions to this problem, and this new National Action Plan sets a precedent that countries worldwide should follow.

“Expanding the pilot of the innovative antibiotic subscription model is a crucial next step with our industry’s full support. This type of innovative thinking is needed to address the issues associated with AMR and safeguard public health from this shared threat.”

Image credit: iStock

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