The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) believes that legislation introduced yesterday (June 15), the Generating Antibiotics Incentives Now (GAIN) Act (H.R. 2182), is an excellent starting point to begin to address the urgent public health crisis of antibiotic resistance. IDSA applauds U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R.-GA) for introducing the legislation and co-sponsors Reps. Gene Green (D-TX), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Mike Rogers (R-MI), Ed Whitfield (R-KY), and John Shimkus (R-IL). The bill is intended to encourage pharmaceutical companies to create desperately needed new antibiotics.

As infections become increasingly resistant to existing antibiotics, the number of new antibiotics being developed has plummeted. In 1990, there were nearly 20 pharmaceutical companies with large, strong, and active antibiotic R&D programs. Today, there are just two, and only a limited number of companies have smaller programs. Unless sweeping actions are taken now, the future could resemble the days before these miracle drugs were developed. People will die of common infections and the effectiveness of many medical interventions we take for granted – surgery, chemotherapy, organ transplantation, and premature infant care – will be threatened.

Through the GAIN Act, Rep. Gingrey and the bill’s co-sponsors have provided a strong foundation upon which to build, but IDSA leaders agree the bill likely will need to be improved further to ensure antibiotic manufacturers will have sufficient motivation to produce novel, new drugs. “We can’t make drug companies produce new antibiotics, they have to want it,” said Robert Guidos, JD, IDSA’s vice president of public policy and government relations. “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.”

The GAIN act is an important first step, and IDSA looks forward to continuing to work with Rep. Gingrey and supporters of this legislation to insure that this public health crisis is addressed. IDSA shared its support and additional ideas to build on the legislation in a letter today to Rep. Gingery. IDSA also has developed a comprehensive, multi-pronged plan to address antibiotic resistance and the dry antibiotic pipeline, Combating Antimicrobial Resistance: Policy Recommendations to Save Lives, also available online.

Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA)

republished with permission by medical news today: