The antibiotic crisis worsens

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antibioticaWe have been writing regularly about the escalating crisis of antibiotic resistance (for the latest developments in this area, see the blog by ACSH advisor Dr. David Shlaes entitled Antibiotics-The Perfect Storm), but as bad as it is, it only seems to get worse with each passing month.

Yet, a new report in Medical News Today takes this to a whole new level.

The Infectious Diseases Society of America launched an initiative in 2010 called “10 x ’20″ a modest proposal designed to have ten new systemic antibiotics approved by the FDA by 2020. It is failing miserably. So badly, in fact, that three years since the initiative, the FDA has approved only one new drug.

According to the Medical News Today report, The IDSA first warned of the looming antibiotic apocalypse with its 2004 report, Bad Bugs, No Drugs. Nearly 50 other medical societies and organizations, including the American Medical Association, have endorsed the 10 x ’20 initiative so far.

ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom says, The ISDA initiative was both reasonable and necessary, yet this does not get to the core of the matter the fact that drug companies are simply not doing nearly enough antimicrobial research is the death knell of the initiative. Anyone who thinks that this can be solved by government research hasn’t the wildest idea of the Sisyphean task of drug development. But soon they will find out the hard way. He adds, the best, and possibly the only way to deal with this would be major government financial incentives either through outright research subsidies or vastly extended patent coverage to drug companies something that is most likely politically impossible given the misdirected hatred toward drug companies.

Yet, this problem is still theoretical for most people, says Dr. Bloom. Most people tend to think that this is a problem that affects others, but before long we will all be others and by then it will be too late. People will be dying from previously treatable infections, and then panic will set in.

Helen W. Boucher, MD, a member of IDSA’s Board of Directors, concurs. She says, We’re losing ground because we are not developing new drugs in pace with superbugs ability to develop resistance to them. We re on the precipice of returning to the dark days before antibiotics enabled safer surgery, chemotherapy and the care of premature infants. We re all at risk.

Dr. Bloom s 2012 New York Post op-ed entitled The Coming Gonorrhea Epidemic speaks to this issue and can be read here.

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