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Government announces £2m boost in latest phase of antibiotics campaign


By Lea Legraien
12 July 2019

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The Government will invest an extra £2m in the latest phase of the Public Health England (PHE) antibiotics campaign.

Health secretary Matt Hancock announced the new measures this week, including the development of a new payment system to incentivise pharmaceutical companies to invest in drug development, to drive down the use of antibiotics.

The latest phase of PHE’s Keep Antibiotics Working campaign, which was first launched in 2017, is set to start in October and will see a £2m funding injection to educate the public on how to best use antibiotics.

Under Government plans, the introduction of a subscription-like model for pharmaceutical companies means they will receive upfront payments for medicines based on their usefulness to the NHS, rather than based on the number of antibiotics they sell.

It is hoped this new approach will put a stop to the current situation, which encourages companies to produce higher volumes when NHS England is trying to reduce antibiotics use in a bid to address antimicrobial resistance.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘There is no greater threat to global health than drug-resistant infections, yet there have been no major new antibiotic drug classes discovered since the 1980s. Imagine a world in which a papercut can lead to infection that can’t be controlled. We must stop that from happening. Tackling superbugs needs global leadership and peoples’ lives depend on us finding a new way forward.’

He added: ‘Our NHS is in a unique position to take a global lead in testing new payment models. We will take the lead but this is a global problem and we cannot succeed alone. I am proud the UK is taking the first steps towards a solution and I am urging the rest of the world to join us in the fight against superbugs.’

The Government recently shared its 20-year vision and five-year national action plan setting out how the UK will contribute to containing and controlling antimicrobial resistance by 2040.

A version of this story was first published by our sister publication Pulse.

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