UK courts an­tibi­ot­ic de­vel­op­ers with 'sub­scrip­tion-style' in­cen­tive to com­bat su­per­bug scourge

As an­tibi­ot­ic de­vel­op­ers lan­guish, and su­per­bugs flour­ish, the Unit­ed King­dom is tak­ing a key step to in­vig­o­rate an­timi­cro­bial de­vel­op­ment by woo­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers with the in­cen­tive of a ‘sub­scrip­tion’ style pay­ment:  the drugs will be paid for, even if they’re just stored in re­serves.

It is no se­cret that the in­dus­try play­ers con­tribut­ing to the ar­se­nal of an­timi­cro­bials are fast dwin­dling. Drug­mak­ers are en­ticed by green­er pas­tures, com­pared to the long, ar­du­ous and ex­pen­sive path to an­tibi­ot­ic ap­proval that of­fers lit­tle fi­nan­cial gain as treat­ments must be priced cheap­ly, and of­ten lose po­ten­cy over time as mi­crobes grow re­sis­tant to them. Con­se­quent­ly, there has been no new class of an­tibi­otics ap­proved since the 1980s — and to­day, rough­ly 700,000 deaths an­nu­al­ly are at­trib­uted to drug re­sis­tant bac­te­ria, ac­cord­ing to the WHO.

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