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.
Pew strongly supports the responsible antibiotic use approach as an important tool in improving stewardship of these lifesaving drugs. Read More
Pew, together with 42 other organizations—including patient advocacy groups, medical and public health associations, and industry representatives—sent a letter to Congress on Sept. 6 calling on the Senate to pass legislation that would help advance the development of new antibiotics for seriously ill patients with unmet medical needs. Read More
A new type of antibiotic resistance, first discovered in China at the end of 2015, has been found in bacterial samples from around the world, including the U.S. This resistance is of particular concern because it is caused by a gene, known as mcr-1, that not only makes bacteria resistant to colistin—an antibiotic of last resort in human medicine—but also is readily transferable to... Read More