More Efforts to Strengthen Access to Older Antibiotics Under Investigation in Sweden

The Swedish government has taken steps this summer to address the availability of antibiotics by assigning tasks to the Public Health Agency and the Dental and Pharmaceutical Benefits Agency (TLV). One assignment involves establishing a reimbursement model to maintain a reserve stock of prioritized older antibiotic medications. The other task centers around an in-depth analysis of how the price ceiling system affects the accessibility of older antibiotics.

“As the threat looms of being unable to treat bacterial diseases with antibiotics in the future, the integrity of modern healthcare is at stake. We must ensure access to medications that are most suitable based on treatment, price, as well as sustainability in terms of resistance,” stated Social Minister Jakob Forssmed.

The government’s strategy against antibiotic resistance aims to preserve the ability to treat bacterial infections in both humans and animals. Antibiotic shortages are an issue even in developed countries like Sweden. In cases of shortages in recommended first-line treatments, there’s a risk of resorting to alternatives that are costlier, come with more adverse effects, or are less effective against resistance.

Maintaining Access to Older Antibiotics through Buffer Storage Ensuring access to recommended first-line antibiotics, often older types, is imperative. Sweden has made considerable progress on an international scale in devising replacement models that enhance market access.

Recognizing the need for special attention to older antibiotics, the government tasked the Public Health Agency with conducting a preliminary study on a new reimbursement model. This model would compensate pharmaceutical companies for maintaining a buffer stock of prioritized older antibiotic products in the Swedish market. The agency is to establish criteria and guidelines for this model, explore the potential for collaboration with other Nordic countries, and draw from insights gained from their pilot study on access to new antibiotics.

Analysis of Price Ceiling System’s Effects on Antibiotic Availability The price ceiling system aims to establish lower and more consistent prices for interchangeable medications. The government has tasked the Dental and Pharmaceutical Benefits Agency (TLV) with conducting an in-depth analysis of how planned adjustments to price ceiling levels in 2023 and 2024 impact the availability of older antibiotics. TLV will also assess whether further measures within the scope of the price ceiling system are necessary to bolster accessibility.

High-Level Meeting on Antibiotic Resistance in 2024 Preparations are underway for a special high-level meeting on antibiotic resistance during the 2024 United Nations General Assembly. The Public Health Agency has been entrusted with supporting the government’s preparations and handling any conclusions from the meeting related to other international initiatives in the field of antibiotic resistance.

“Spearheading the issue of antibiotic resistance during the EU presidency, Sweden has successfully negotiated ambitious new recommendations for member states. International collaboration is crucial in combating the silent pandemic of antibiotic resistance. I am optimistic about making further progress during the high-level meeting at the United Nations General Assembly next year,” expressed Social Minister Jakob Forssmed.