Antibiotics are fundamental to modern medicine, essential for treating everything from routine skin infections to strep throat, and for protecting vulnerable patients receiving chemotherapy or being treated in intensive care units.
Although antibiotic resistance is not a new problem, its scope now constitutes a major threat to human health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 2 million Americans fall sick every year with antibiotic-resistant infections—and 23,000 die.
Medical and public health experts agree that addressing antibiotic resistance requires measures that will ensure both the prudent use of existing drugs and a robust pipeline of new drugs. Pew's antibiotic resistance project supports policies that would:
- Spur the creation of new antibiotics by removing the regulatory, economic, and scientific obstacles that impede antibiotic discovery and development.
- Establish stewardship programs to ensure that antibiotics are prescribed only when necessary in human health care settings.
- End the overuse of antibiotics in food animals.
The Food and Drug Administration’s Guidance for Industry #213, which phased out growth promotion uses of medically important antibiotics and requires remaining antibiotic uses to have veterinary oversight, was fully implemented on Jan. 1. It marks an important milestone in efforts to ensure that antibiotics are used responsibly in food animals; however, 1 in 3 animal antibiotic labels still... Read More
The recent death of a patient in Nevada is a stark reminder of what a post-antibiotic era could look like, and why there is no time to waste in finding new drugs. Read More
Scientific, economic, and regulatory barriers have led many major pharmaceutical companies to limit or stop investing in antibiotic innovation, just as the rise of resistant “superbugs” makes it more important than ever to develop novel antimicrobial drugs. The world needs new, targeted scientific research and innovative policies to revitalize the drug pipeline, produce new... Read More