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Chief medical officer urges long-term planning in antibiotics R&D

Politicians must take action to boost long-term investment in antibiotics research, England’s chief medical officer Sally Davies has said.

NHS England is to begin testing a new payment system for antibiotics in the next six months, under which it will pay pharmaceutical companies according to the value of their medicines. As it stands, companies are paid according to the volume of antibiotics sold. With the rise of antimicrobial resistance, there has been a concerted global effort to reduce the use of antibiotics, which means that many pharmaceutical firms have low incentives to spend money on R&D into new drugs. 

Davies urged politicians to change how they think about investments in novel drugs in order to increase R&D levels. “How do we persuade people who hold the money to take a long-term view?” she asked the audience at a Westminster Health Forum seminar on 6 February. There is a lack of investment in this area and as a result, small innovation companies are struggling to secure the funds for research, she said.

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