Today marks a significant milestone in our continued efforts to fight antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
We are incredibly proud to be partnering with NHS England, NICE and the UK government in piloting an innovative reimbursement model for antimicrobials. This world first initiative is a critical step in tackling one of the biggest threats to global health today and ensuring access and appropriate use of antibiotics for patients in England.
The threat of AMR is a global problem. Drug resistant infections limit the number of remaining treatment options for patients. The threats of AMR are pervasive and span areas of public health, economic stability, and healthcare systems. There were an estimated 4.95 million deaths globally associated with bacterial AMR in 2019 alone,1 but if we don’t act now, by 2050 its estimated that 10 million lives each year could be put at risk due to drug resistant infections.2
Currently ‘superbugs’ are emerging faster than new antibiotics can reach the market,3 yet a strong pipeline of new antibiotics is essential to restoring the balance against increasing rates of AMR. Development of new medicines takes a huge financial investment as the journey from discovery to a clinically approved medicine is long and failure rate is high. However, in the case of antimicrobials, a newly approved treatment may be used sparingly to support good stewardship. This creates a challenging dichotomy of needing to preserve public health while making it difficult to recover the high costs associated with development.
Following the G7 Ministers’ Statement on Actions to Support Antibiotic Development, we have seen global agreement that policy reforms are critical if we are to build a sustainable antibiotic pipeline. Traditional approaches to antimicrobial valuation do not work and there is a clear need for innovative assessments to understand the true value of a medicine that may be left on a very high shelf until it’s needed.
The UK pilot is the first in the world to make strides in assessing the broader value antibiotics bring to people and society through ‘STEDI’ values:
- Spectrum: Benefits of being able to treat with a narrow-spectrum agent in some settings
- Transmission: Benefits from avoiding spread of infection
- Enablement: Benefits from making it safe to receive medical care
- Diversity: Using varied antibiotics reduces resistance pressure
- Insurance: Value of having an antibiotic to hand in case of sudden need
Generating evidence to evaluate all these elements is no small feat and the collaboration seen through the English pilot is a great first step. Continued partnership will be critical in ensuring the broader value antibiotics bring to people and society is recognised, and we look forward to working with key healthcare partners around the world to tackle the global impact of AMR through local action.
We are pleased to have been involved since the inception of this pioneering initiative and believe that, ultimately, it will encourage more investment in the discovery of antibiotics, helping to protect the nation and ensure good stewardship practices across the healthcare system.
- Antimicrobial Resistance Collaborators (2022).Global burden of bacterial antimicrobial resistance in 2019: a systematic analysis. The Lancet 399(10325) 629-655. Last accessed June 2022.
- World Economic Forum. How to stop drug resistant superbugs from causing the next pandemic. Last accessed June 2022
- AMR Action Fund. The AMR Innovation Challenge. Last accessed June 2022
PP-UNP-GBR-1096 / June 2022