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Subscription payment model being trialled in the UK to help combat antimicrobial resistance

For the last 2 years, Pfizer UK has played a key role in the cross-industry initiative to develop a new ‘subscription’ style payment model that aims to encourage pharmaceutical companies to develop new medicines for resistant infections. We are therefore delighted to see that the Department of Health and Social Care have confirmed NICE will be leading a UK trial with NHS England and NHS Improvement to evaluate a new payment model.1


The current payment system works on volume, where pharmaceutical companies are paid by the number of antibiotics used. However, the NHS is trying to reduce the use of antibiotics as one of many ways to help combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR). This means new antibiotic medicines may be kept in reserve for later use or therefore used infrequently, making it difficult to recover the high costs associated with development.1 By moving to a subscription based model, it makes it more attractive for companies to invest in the discovery of new antibiotics, as they can be reassured they will receive appropriate reimbursement for the medicine even though it may be stored for reserves, as well as helping to support effective antibiotic diversity and stewardship.1

This is exciting news and proof that working closely with industry, government, NHS and other healthcare organisations to take a cross functional approach really works. We remain fully committed to combatting resistant infections and look forward to the outcomes of this trial."

Seema Patel, Hospital Medical Director, Pfizer UK

Globally, AMR causes 700,000 deaths annually, and in a recent international review led by Lord O’Neill, it is estimated that this figure could rise to 10 million deaths per year by 2050, which would exceed estimates of deaths caused by cancer.2 So a strong pipeline of new antibiotics is essential to restoring the balance against increasing rates of AMR.

The trial is expected to start in 2019, and be evaluated at the end of 2020. The results will be published worldwide so that other healthcare systems can test similar models.


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Antibiotics are medicines that work to treat or prevent bacterial infections, but many are losing their effectiveness due to antimicrobial resistance (AMR).


Working alongside the PSHE Association and National Schools Partnership, 'Superbugs: Join the fight' is designed to help raise awareness of antibiotic resistance to school children.




PP-PFE-GBR-1824 / July 2019