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UK Details Plans to Tackle Antimicrobial Resistance Over the Next 20 Years

Posted 25 January 2019 | By Michael Mezher 

UK Details Plans to Tackle Antimicrobial Resistance Over the Next 20 Years

The UK's Department of Health and Social Care on Thursday released two policy papers detailing the actions the government plans to address antimicrobial resistance (AMR) over the next five years and a global vision for containing AMR by 2040.
 
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland on Thursday, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock called AMR "as big a danger to humanity as climate change or warfare," and called for an "urgent global response."
 
While the UK's five-year action plan focuses on steps the country can take over the next five years to address AMR on a national level, the 20-year vision takes a more holistic look at how the UK and other global partners can effectively "contain and control" the spread of resistant infections.
 
Within the 97-page five-year action plan, the UK lays out a three-pronged approach to addressing AMR by reducing the use of antimicrobials; optimizing the use of existing products; and incentivizing the development of new therapies.
 
To reduce the use of antimicrobials, the UK is calling for effective infection prevention and control (IPC) measures to reduce the incidence of infection through surveillance, sanitation and hygiene initiatives and vaccine drives.
 
In order to optimize the use of existing antimicrobials, the action plan focuses on ensuring appropriate use of antimicrobials in humans through diagnostic testing, reducing the use of antimicrobials in animals and agriculture, boosting laboratory capacity and strengthening treatment guidelines.
 
The five-year plan also proposes new ways to invest in the development of and pay for novel antimicrobials.
 
One of the approaches would be to set up a subscription-based payment model for antimicrobials to de-link costs from volume.
 
"Within six months, the [National Health Service] NHS is going to start work on paying for the service, and security, of having access to critical antibiotics when we need them, rather than hoping there's a product we can buy in the future. We're going to be more of a Spotify subscriber than a vinyl record shopper," Hancock said.
 
The action plan also suggests a "pay or play" system for funding and incentivizing research and development for new antimicrobials. Under the system, drugmakers would be charged a fee if they are not investing in AMR research and development.
 
Within the 19-page 20-year plan, the UK focuses more on how international collaboration will be necessary to contain the spread of AMR on a global scale, with concrete actions for the UK and broken up into a series of five-year plans.
 
The plan also describes the roles and expectations for various sectors, including the research community, private industry, public agencies, professionals as well as society at large.
 
Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance 2019-2024: The UK's Five-Year National Action Plan, Contained and Controlled: The UK's 20-Year Vision for Antimicrobial Resistance, Hancock Statement

 

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