Pharmaceutical products

NHS set to expand pioneering pharma agreement as it ramps up the battle against antimicrobial resistance

The NHS has announced expansion plans for its ground-breaking pilot to combat antimicrobial resistance as it moves to secure the provision of life-saving antibiotics to patients for years to come.

The news comes almost a year after the health service initially pioneered the subscription-style model to drug contracts when it agreed deals for cefiderocol and ceftazidime-avibactam.

Under this type of agreement, pharmaceutical companies are paid a fixed annual fee which, in this case, could double from £10m to £20 if the treatments offer particularly good value for money to the taxpayer.

This will be determined by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) using a newly developed clinical scoring system.

                                                                         Video credit: Canva

The idea behind the arrangement was to disrupt the correlation between how much companies get paid and the number of antibiotics they are prescribing, thus discouraging the overuse of treatments and reducing the risk of infections such as sepsis and pneumonia becoming more antimicrobial resistant.

As part of a 12-week consultation on the expansion plans, the NHS will seek the views of stakeholders of all shapes and sizes, including patients, academics, carers and the private sector.

The news comes as data indicates drug resistant superbugs are more prevalent than ever with industry leaders projecting that antimicrobial resistance will be responsible for up to 10 million deaths a year by 2050.

“Today’s announcement shows the UK is leading the way in finding solutions that will ensure the antibiotics market is fit for purpose,” said NICE’s programme director for scientific affairs, Nick Crabb, on the announcement.

“Taking on board the learnings from the recent pilot we are now moving to the next stage, embedding routine arrangements for the evaluation and reimbursement of new antimicrobials within the NHS, across all nations of the UK.”

Crabb continued: “A new panel convened by NICE will play a critical role by evaluating antimicrobials using a novel and pragmatic, clinically led award criteria and scoring system.”

Image credit: iStock

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