New antibiotic assessment mechanism to procure drugs to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
20 Apr 2022
One of the UK’s leading infectious disease biotech companies has lauded the conclusions of a project by NHS England and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). The collaborative project evaluated a new antibiotic assessment mechanism that will be used to procure two new drugs to combat the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) pandemic.
The trial has tested new measures of value for innovative AMR drugs that fully reflect the healthcare and societal value of these new products, rather than simply comparing net health benefits of a new antibiotic with cheaper and older generic ones.
This new subscription model effectively ‘de-links’ the valuation and reward payments made to the developers from the volume of medicine used. Guaranteed payments will be made to the companies selected in return for their commitment to making supplies of their drugs available to the NHS when needed and maintaining high levels of stewardship and monitoring of their use.
The two drugs selected for the trial, Shionogi’s Fetcroja and Pfizer’s Zavicefta, will now be eligible to receive a subscription payment of up to £10m per year for up to 10 years, a potential maximum payment of £100m for each drug from the new UK system.
This announcement follows the recent publication in the Lancet of a study that brought home the stark reality of AMR, with over 1.2 million people dying each year from drug-resistant infections.
AMR is increasing to extraordinary levels throughout the world, with new ‘superbugs’ constantly emerging, and damaging our ability to treat common infectious diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, sepsis and gonorrhoea. All of these infections are becoming much more difficult – and in some instances impossible - to treat as the number of antibiotics that can provide adequate treatment grows smaller.
Dr Peter Jackson, CEO of Infex Therapeutics and a member of the NICE/NHS England trial Project Advisory Group commented: “The antibiotic market problem is this: we need companies to invest hundreds of millions of pounds to develop new drugs to treat drug-resistant microbes, but we also need to use these new drugs sparingly for only essential cases to prevent further development of resistance to the new treatments. This makes it impossible for drug developers to recoup their investment in research and development by selling the successful AMR drugs they produce on the open market.
“It is, therefore, wonderful to see the UK leading the way globally with this new AMR subscription model, which will provide a critically-needed boost to investment in research and development of new AMR drugs.
“But the UK is only around 3% of the global drugs market, so we need to see further international action on AMR payments as was pledged at last year’s G7 meeting in Cornwall. In particular, I hope that we will now see urgent progress on approving the ‘PASTEUR’ proposals currently being considered by the US Congress and that the EU will also confirm its AMR reimbursement proposals this year.