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. But the proliferation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria—a result of decades of overuse in animal agriculture and human medicine combined with a lack of new drug development and innovation—has placed humanity on the precipice of what public health leaders call a “post-antibiotic” world in which even the most simple surgical procedure could have deadly consequences.
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.
Antibiotics should be used only to treat bacterial infections, and should be prescribed only in doses and fordurations appropriate for the patient and infection being treated. Yet the Centers for Disease Control andPrevention (CDC) estimates that up to 50 percent of all antibiotics prescribed in the U.S. are unnecessaryor inappropriate, with many of them prescribed in inpatient settings. Read More
Supermoms Against Superbugs is a movement of mothers, fathers, doctors, and farmers who are working to ensure the responsible use of antibiotics in veterinary and human medicine, spur a robust pipeline of new drugs, and increase funding across the federal government to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Read More
The U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) today passed the Promise for Antibiotics and Therapeutics for Health (PATH) Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) that would advance the development of new antibiotics for seriously ill patients with unmet medical needs. Read More
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