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UK outlines its antibiotic pull incentive plan

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The UK government has outlined a plan to pay up to £100 million per new antibiotic under a first-of-its-kind “subscription-based payment model”. This paves the way for a global pull incentive of up to US$4 billion for new antibiotics, if other governments follow suit.

Faced with a dwindling antibiotic pipeline and increasing risk of antibiotic resistance, infectious disease experts have long argued that market entry rewards are needed to encourage work on much-needed new antibiotics. The UK’s NHS and NICE have now disclosed a plan to pay drug developers £10 million per year for a decade for each of 2 new antibiotics against WHO priority pathogens, under an antibiotic pull incentive programme. The pilot programme is set to start selecting products to assess later this year, and contracts are set to be finalized by April 2022.

John Rex, CMO at F2G, and Kevin Outterson, Executive Director at CARB-X, noted in an analysis of this plan that if other countries chip in equivalent amounts, scaled to GDP, the total value of this antibiotic pull incentive would be around $4 billion. “Overall, we see this as an outstanding step forward,” they write. “England cannot (and should not) do this alone. Every member of the G20 needs to step up as well! If they do not do this, the total reward will be inadequate to sustain a vibrant pipeline and R&D community.”

Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 19, 298 (2020)

doi: 10.1038/d41573-020-00070-8

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