The Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) has written a white paper about the rising problem of antimicrobial resistance. Compounding the problem is an alarming trend: research and development for antibiotics is waning. After investigating the problem for over a year the IDSA concluded that antibiotic development is not profitable in today’s environment. The executive summary warns “The pipeline of new antibiotics is drying up. Major pharmaceutical companies are losing interest in the antibiotics market because these drugs simply are not as profitable as drugs that treat chronic (long-term) conditions and lifestyle issues. Drug R&D is expensive, risky, and time-consuming. An aggressive R&D program initiated today would likely require 10 or more years and an investment of $800 million to $1.7 billion to bring a new drug to market.”
The report recommends incentives such as patent extensions, liability protection, and relaxation of FDA requirements for clinical studies. It warns of emerging serious infections without effective treatments unless there is prompt action to promote antibiotic development.