FDA Task Force To Examine Solutions To Improve, Speed Antibiotic Research

“One of the most urgent global public health problems is the increasing capability of bacteria to resist antibiotic drugs,” a Washington Post editorial states. “The specter of a world without effective antibiotics has been looming for years, but recent evidence suggests that the superbugs are evolving ever faster,” the editorial continues. “Meanwhile, the pipeline of new antibiotics is running dry, leaving some patients with no effective treatment for life-threatening disease,” it adds.

The editorial says economic, scientific, regulatory challenges are responsible for a “dearth of new antibiotics,” and says antibiotic overuse is partially to blame for the development of resistant bacteria. The FDA “announced last month that it is establishing a 19-member task force aimed at boosting the development of antibacterial drugs” and “Congress recently approved new incentives for industry innovation as well,” the Washington Post writes, noting the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology recently published (.pdf) “a valuable report on drug development” that “calls for doubling the output of ‘innovative, new medicines for patients with unmet medical needs,’ while increasing safety and efficacy, over the next 10 to 15 years.” The editorial concludes, “Not every government task force gets results, but this one combines specialists from different disciplines to deal with a serious health risk for billions. … The FDA’s task force, working with industry, government, clinicians and academia, may produce better results” (10/7).