Feasibility of de-linking reimbursement of antimicrobials from sales: the Australian perspective as a qualitative case study

Nadine T. Hillock, Tracy L. Merlin, Jonathan Karnon, John Turnidge, Jaklin Eliott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


Background: There is a disparity in the economic return achievable for antimicrobials compared with other drugs because of the need for stewardship. This has led to a decline in pharmaceutical companies' willingness to invest in the development of these drugs and a consequent global interest in funding models where reimbursement is de-linked from sales.

 Objectives: To explore the perspective of stakeholders regarding the feasibility of de-linked reimbursement of antimicrobials in Australia. 

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 18 participants sourced from the pharmaceutical industry and individuals representing public-sector payers or regulators. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, coded and thematically analysed using the framework method. 

Results: Five key themes were identified in the interviews: funding silos are a barrier to de-linking reimbursement; varying levels of supporting evidence are (currently) required for funding depending upon setting; funding status or cost is used as a stewardship tool; a de-linked model may cost more; and concerns regarding governance and access to antimicrobials exist in the private sector. 

Conclusions: Australia's current multi-tiered funding of medicines across different levels of government was perceived as a barrier to de-linked reimbursement. Participants felt that the responsibility for antimicrobial funding and stewardship should be integrated and centralized. Implementing a nationally funded de-linked reimbursement model for new antimicrobials would require a review of funding decision-making criteria, given that most MDR infections are off-label indications and could not then be funded through the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Findings from this study could be applicable to other countries with reimbursement frameworks similar to Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberdlaa023
Number of pages7
JournalJAC-Antimicrobial Resistance
Issue number2
Early online date10 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • Australia
  • drug industry
  • government
  • reimbursement mechanisms
  • infections
  • economics
  • antimicrobials


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