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As R and D shrinks, UK trials new payment scheme for antibiotics

July 09, 2019 / Phil Taylor

With big pharma still abandoning R and D into antibiotics and resistant infections on the rise, the UK has launched a new payment system that it hopes will incentivise the development of new drugs. A new subscription approach will see companies paid upfront for access to new antibiotics based on their value to the NHS, rather than the volume of medicines sold, according to Health Secretary Matt Hancock. The idea is that this will give companies who develop innovative antimicrobials a greater return on their R&D investment than would occur if those drugs are held in reserve for resistant infections, and so only used sparingly. It also removes the incentive for companies to market antibiotics in order to boost sales at a time when the NHS is trying to reduce their use to counter the emergence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Hancock said the UK cannot act alone, however, and he urged other countries to follow suit. AMR is becoming a major public health concern around the world, res...