Pioneering drugs to beat two ‘superbugs’ rolled out on NHS

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The overuse of antimicrobial drugs, a category which includes antibiotics, has led to strains of bacteria, such as MRSA, which evolve to evade their effects. NHS chiefs said the new treatments will “strike a blow in the global battle against antimicrobial resistance”.

Around 65,000 people a year are affected by superbugs, and antibiotic-resistant infections claim an estimated 12,000 lives annually in the UK. Some 1,700 patients are expected to benefit from the new drugs – cefiderocol and ceftazidime-avibactam – each year.

The drugs were discovered through a world-first scheme which sees pharmaceutical firms paid a fixed yearly fee for drug development.

Speaking at the NHS Confed Expo conference in Liverpool, NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said: “Until now, innovation in antibiotics has been limited. But this pioneering NHS subscription scheme aims to turn the tide.”

The drugs will be subject to stricter rules on prescribing to slow the development of resistance.

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