Allan Coukell, deputy director of medical safety for the Pew Health Group, issued the following statement today on a U.S. House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing, “Promoting the Development of Antibiotics and Ensuring Judicious Use in Humans.”
“Millions of Americans are at risk from infections that are becoming harder to treat due to drug resistance. Yet our arsenal of life saving antibiotics is shrinking, and the pipeline of new drugs under development is vastly inadequate. The shortage of new drugs, along with routine misuse of those now on the market, has led Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to warn that we may be on the brink of the ‘post-antibiotic era.'
“Too often, we take antibiotics for granted. We expect them to be cheap and effective; we trust that they will be there when we need them. Today, more and more infections cannot be treated with existing drugs, and far too few new ones are under development. Indeed, only two new classes of antibiotics have reached the market in 30 years.
“The Pew Health Group joins the Infectious Diseases Society of America and other organizations in calling for policies to spur antibiotic innovation and to preserve antibiotics—a diminishing global resource. The time for Congress to act is now.”