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.
An approval pathway for limited-population antibacterial drugs (LPAD) would help advance the development of new antibiotics for seriously ill patients with unmet medical needs. The following Q & A provides more detail on LPAD and its benefits. Read More
On Nov. 16, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Infectious Diseases Society of America, Bon Appétit Management Company, McDonald’s USA LLC, Tyson Foods Inc., and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. submitted a letter to leaders of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S.... Read More
The use of antibiotics is an important factor in the development of antibiotic resistance. Prescriptions written for these drugs in outpatient health care settings—such as doctor’s offices and emergency rooms—account for a significant proportion of total antibiotic use in health care settings across the United States. To improve judicious antibiotic use in these facilities, it... Read More
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