Economic Incentives Needed to Fix the Broken Antibiotic Market

Economic Incentives Needed to Fix the Broken Antibiotic Market
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Getty Images

Antibiotic resistance, a critical public health and national security threat, requires a robust arsenal of novel drugs that bacteria won’t readily outsmart. Yet the pipeline of antibiotics in clinical development is inadequate to address current—let alone future—patient needs. Getting a new antibiotic to market is resource-intensive, but the return on investment is relatively low. In part this stems from the public health imperative to use such drugs as little as possible, to preserve their effectiveness and slow the emergence of resistance. As a result, major pharmaceutical companies have backed away from antibiotic development, and the companies remaining in the space struggle to sustain their operations.

Consistent with recommendations from numerous studies and commissions, The Pew Charitable Trusts supports federal incentives to catalyze antibiotic development.

CARB
CARB
Opinion

The Antibiotic Market Is Broken—and Won’t Fix Itself

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Opinion

Over the past year we’ve watched two troubling trends escalate. First, patients increasingly face—and their doctors struggle to treat—infections that do not respond to existing antibiotics. Second, major pharmaceutical companies are backing away from developing new antibiotics. Last July, Novartis became the third major pharmaceutical company in 2018 alone to announce that it would end antibiotic research and development. Other companies that haven’t eliminated antibiotic R&D have made significant reductions.

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Antibiotics
Antibiotics
Data Visualization

The Critical Need for New Antibiotics

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Data Visualization

In the U.S., there are not enough antibiotics in development to meet current and anticipated patient needs.