Most health experts agree that the profit motive simply is not working when it comes to meeting the emergency demand for more antibiotics to combat the problem of drug resistance. The World Health Organization has issued a call for government incentives to spur development of new antibiotics. In the United States, the call was answered with legislation.
The Generating Antibiotics Incentives Now (GAIN) Act was introduced in the House in mid-June. Under the bill, the FDA would give priority to new antibiotics and take action on an application no longer than six months after it was submitted. It would also make antibiotics eligible for the FDA's Fast Track program and extend patent exclusivity.
"We can't make drug companies produce new antibiotics, they have to want it," Robert Guidos, of the Infectious Disease Society of America, said in a statement. "Given the public health crisis we are facing, we likely will have only this one chance. We have to be sure Congress chooses a winning approach or an additional decade may be wasted, resulting in countless lives lost."
Meanwhile, the European Commission is looking at ways to help development of new antibiotics, although it has not taken any specific action yet.
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