NHS secures two new superbug-busting drugs to help 1,700 patients a year in world-first deal


NHS secures two new superbug-busting drugs to help 1,700 patients a year in world-first deal

  • Ex-chief medical officer warns the world is ‘facing an antibiotic apocalypses’
  • Annually, 65,000 people develop drug-resistant infections dubbed superbugs
  • The two new superbug-busting drugs could benefit up to 1,700 patients a year 

The NHS has secured access to two new superbug-busting drugs under a world-first deal that could benefit 1,700 patients a year.

They are the first drugs to be developed through an innovative subscription scheme under which the NHS pays a fixed annual fee to pharmaceutical companies.

It is designed to incentivise the companies to develop new drugs that may not be widely used.

Dame Sally Davies, England’s former chief medical officer, had warned ‘the world is facing an antibiotic apocalypse’ if existing drugs continued to be overused and new versions were not developed.

Other experts had warned that the pipeline of new drugs had dried up and even common operations could become deadly if the current medicines used to treat infections are rendered ineffective.

The NHS has secured access to two new superbug-busting drugs under a world-first deal that could benefit 1,700 patients a year, designed to incentivise companies to develop new drugs that may not be widely used (file photo)

The NHS has secured access to two new superbug-busting drugs under a world-first deal that could benefit 1,700 patients a year, designed to incentivise companies to develop new drugs that may not be widely used (file photo)

Around 65,000 people a year develop drug-resistant infections dubbed superbugs, equating to 178 a day, according to data from Public Health England.

The two new drugs being rolled out are called cefiderocol and ceftazidime-avibactam, manufactured by Shionogi and Pfizer respectively.

Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of NHS England, said: ‘Superbug-busting drugs on the NHS will save lives and strike a blow in the global battle against antimicrobial resistance.

Pictured is Dame Sally Davies, England¿s former chief medical officer, who had warned ¿the world is facing an antibiotic apocalypse¿ if existing drugs continued to be overused and new versions were not developed

Pictured is Dame Sally Davies, England’s former chief medical officer, who had warned ‘the world is facing an antibiotic apocalypse’ if existing drugs continued to be overused and new versions were not developed

‘This pioneering NHS subscription scheme aims to turn the tide by working with pharmaceutical firms to make sure we have these superbug-battling drugs ready and available to those patients who need them most.’

Professor Sir Stephen Powis, NHS England medical director, added: ‘This is a huge milestone in the country’s quest to tackle the increasing global threat of antimicrobial resistance.’

The NHS deal involves the health service paying up to a maximum of £10 million a year for up to ten years.

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