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.
As news headlines repeatedly remind us, humanity is falling behind in its long battle with bacterial diseases. The more we use antibiotics, the less effective they become, and we are quickly running out of drugs that can treat increasingly resistant infections. Sooner or later, bacteria will evolve to resist every antibiotic we have. Read More
Up to 50 percent of antibiotic use in hospitals is considered inappropriate, which contributes to antibiotic resistance as well as to other adverse events for patients. Hospitals have begun to address this misuse by implementing antibiotic stewardship programs (ASPs), which aim to ensure that these drugs are prescribed only when necessary, to improve antibiotic prescribing and patient safety. Read More
Ensuring the appropriate use of antibiotics is critical to improving patient care and minimizing the development of antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic use in outpatient health care settings, such as primary care clinics and emergency rooms, represents the majority of dollars spent on antibiotics for human health in the United States and should be a focus for efforts to ensure that antibiotics are... Read More