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.
3 personal perspectives
Health experts create national targets to reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions
Analysis shows more than 1 in 3 labels will not fully meet judicious use standards after implementation of FDA policy
The use of antibiotics drives the emergence of drug resistance, but the relationship between the two is not always direct or easy to measure. Resistance may appear or disappear at significantly faster rates in some situations than others, and perhaps not at all during the period of a research study. These dynamics can be influenced by seemingly unrelated factors. Read More
Reinvigorating the pipeline of antibiotics in development is more critical today than ever, as increasingly hard-to-treat bacteria continue to emerge. As part of ongoing work to spur the creation of urgently needed new antibiotics, The Pew Charitable Trusts’ antibiotic resistance project and the World Health Organization (WHO) have both released new analyses of the pipeline of products in... Read More
While antibiotic innovation—finding and designing new types of antibiotics and improving existing drugs—remains essential to combating antibiotic resistance, “outside-the-box” approaches to preventing and treating bacterial infections are also needed. Read More