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Doctors told to cut level of antibiotics they prescribe by 15%

Drug firms to be paid MILLIONS to develop new antibiotics that will rarely be used as doctors are told to cut prescriptions for the drugs by 15% in the war on superbugs

  • Doctors are being ordered to cut antibiotic use by 15 per cent in five years 
  • Health officials will monitor how often GPs prescribe antibiotics to stop the rise
  • Drug firms will be paid to develop rarely used antibiotics to tackle superbugs 

Doctors are being ordered to cut antibiotic use by 15 per cent in five years and drug firms are being offered millions to help in the war on superbugs.

Health officials will monitor how often GPs prescribe antibiotics and issue a warning if the level is too high.

Under a new NHS strategy, drug companies will also be paid millions to develop antibiotics that will be rarely used, to combat deadly superbugs that have grown resistant to existing drugs.

Under a new NHS strategy, drug companies will also be paid millions to develop antibiotics that will be rarely used, to combat deadly superbugs that have grown resistant to existing drugs (file image)

No new antibiotic classes have been developed since 1980 and research is declining because it is not profitable.

The plans will be unveiled by Health Secretary Matt Hancock at the World Economic Forum in Davos today.

He will say: ‘Imagine a world without antibiotics. Where treatable infections become untreatable, where routine surgery like a hip operation becomes too risky to carry out, and where every wound is potentially life-threatening. 

‘What would go through your mind if your child cut their finger and you knew there was no antibiotic left that could treat an infection?

‘This was the human condition until almost a century ago. I don’t want it to be the future for my children – yet it may be unless we act.’ 

Officials estimate that resistance to antibiotics contributes to more than 2,000 deaths a year and costs the NHS £88million a year.

Since 2014 the UK has reduced use of the drugs by seven per cent, with a 40 per cent fall in the dosing of farm animals. 

But the number of drug-resistant bloodstream infections has risen by 35 per cent from 2013 to 2017.

Since 2014 the UK has reduced use of the drugs by 7 per cent, with a 40 per cent fall in the dosing of farm animals. But the number of drug-resistant bloodstream infections has risen by 35 per cent from 2013 to 2017 (file image)

Since 2014 the UK has reduced use of the drugs by 7 per cent, with a 40 per cent fall in the dosing of farm animals. But the number of drug-resistant bloodstream infections has risen by 35 per cent from 2013 to 2017 (file image)

Under the strategy GPs’ use of the drugs will be audited against national guidelines, with the growth of electronic prescribing making it easier to spot where the wrong decisions are made.

Mr Hancock will also announce a ‘subscription model’ to encourage the development of new medicines to fight the superbug threat.

The NHS will pay the firms up front if they produce a drug that effectively combats superbugs.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer, welcomed the plans, saying: ‘Too many people are already dying as a result of drug-resistant infections around the world, while many still do not have access to the antibiotics they need. This is not just a health issue, it is a social and economic one.

‘The fate of modern medicine rests on strong leadership, bold action and collaboration across nations, sectors and borders and I am pleased to see that this strategy has this sentiment at its heart.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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