June 8, 2022

Antibiotic Resistance Could Be a Top Cause of Death by 2050, Experts Say

Medpage Today reports on an expert panel recently asserting antibiotic resistance will be an expanding threat over time. Bacteria evolving beyond the efficacy of antibiotics, according to the CDC, has led in the U.S. to more than 2.8 million resistant infections and over 35,000 deaths each year. Globally, more people died of antibiotic resistance than from HIV/AIDS or malaria in 2019.

The time and capital investment needed to bring a new antibiotic to market, between 10 to 15 years and around $1.3 billion, has led to pharmaceutical companies feeling disincentivized to bring new ones to market. And despite growing resistance, current antibiotics remain largely effective for the common therapies and procedures that could result in bacterial infections.

The bipartisan PASTEUR Act calls for an $11 billion investment to correct the market failure by incentivizing small drug developers to help restore the antibiotic pipeline. It would also strengthen the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network and Emerging Infections Program efforts. The act proposes a subscription model that would help keep smaller companies open as they develop antibiotics that might not be used today, but could be vital in the future.

Lawmakers note that the U.S. is not alone in facing antibiotic resistance, nor can it solve the oncoming problem by itself. They call for a global coalition to ensure the entire world benefits from resulting antibiotics that could avert frightening antibiotic resistant catastrophes.

PIDS member David Hyun is quoted in the article that “[I]f antibiotics are no longer able to treat these infections [that can occur following common therapies and procedures, from chemotherapy to hip replacements], then we are really undermining all the successes and advances that we have seen across the healthcare setting.”

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