Greenwood: Solving the Looming Superbug Crisis Will Require Bold Action From Congress

BIOtech Now
Andrew Segerman

Writing for Morning Consult, BIO’s Jim Greenwood discusses the challenges of developing novel antibiotics and highlights the urgent need for policies that incentivize innovators to produce new ones.

“The reason why so few antibiotics are being developed is simple – the market is broken. Estimates show that it takes more than a decade to develop a new antibiotic or vaccine and can cost more than $1 billion. But even when a product does make it to the market, it might take a whopping 23 years to break even on its R&D investment,” Greenwood notes.

As stakeholders from across the health care spectrum warn, the rise of superbugs could have catastrophic consequences. For instance, every year two million Americans suffer from multidrug-resistant infections and more than 160,000 of those infections result in death. That’s more than quadruple the number that die in car crashes.

Greenwood explains that we can win the fight against resistant superbugs, which are evolving much faster than we are inventing new medicines. However, to do so will require the help of our leaders in Washington.

“To boost the pipeline of new drugs and products to beat back antimicrobial resistance, a package of policies that include a ‘pull’ incentive that rewards companies for bringing new products to market – irrespective of the volume of product sold – would be a necessary next step,” Greenwood concludes.

Read the full piece here.

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