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, Americans contract more than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections every year—and at least 35,000 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.

Project Goals

Pew's antibiotic resistance project supports policies that would:

Antibiotic resistance
Antibiotic resistance
Article

True Stories of Antibiotic Resistance

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Article

Resistant infections affect people from all walks of life— –young and old, healthy and chronically ill. These illnesses often start with something seemingly benign, like a simple cut or a routine medical procedure. 

Antibiotic Development
Antibiotic Development

Tracking the Pipeline of Antibiotics in Development

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This collection page was updated in December 2017 with new content. Drug-resistant bacteria, or superbugs, present a serious and worsening threat to human health. A majority of doctors have encountered patients with infections that do not respond to available treatments, and when new drugs come to market bacteria can quickly develop resistance. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2 million Americans acquire serious infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year, and at least 23,000 die as a result. A sustained and robust pipeline of new antibacterial drugs and novel therapies is critical to ensure that new interventions keep pace with these evolving pathogens.

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Patient
Report

Antibiotic Use in Outpatient Settings

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Report

Antibiotic use in outpatient health care settings, such as primary care offices and emergency rooms, represents the majority of dollars spent on antibiotics for human health care in the United States. Beginning in 2015, The Pew Charitable Trusts convened a panel of experts, including representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health and medical experts to analyze current outpatient antibiotic prescribing habits in the United States, determine targets for reducing inappropriate prescribing, and identify steps needed to reach these targets.

Drug label refinements for animal antibiotic use
Drug label refinements for animal antibiotic use
Issue Brief

Animal Antibiotic Use Requires Drug Label Refinements

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Issue Brief

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Guidance for Industry #2131—a policy designed to ensure the judicious use of antibiotics that are medically important to humans in the production of food animals—will take effect Jan. 1, 2017. The guidance, which was published in December 2013, asks animal drug companies to make two changes for antibiotics shared by humans and animals.

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Antibiotic resistant bacteria

Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Explained

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