Public health groups urge Congress to promote antibiotics in drug-user-fee bill

The Infectious Diseases Society of America and 50 other organizations have signed onto a letter urging Congress to encourage antibiotics research as part of pending user fee legislation.

Lawmakers are working to reauthorize prescription drug user fees that expire Sept. 30. The groups in their letter urge House and Senate leaders of both parties to use the bill to "address the serious and growing problems of antimicrobial resistance and the dry pipeline for antibiotic research and development."

"If Congress does not enact strong solutions, we face a future that resembles the days before these miracle drugs were developed, one in which people died of common infections, and where many medical interventions that we take for granted — including care for premature infants, surgery, cancer chemotherapy, organ transplantation, and even dentistry for some patients — become impossible," the letter reads. "Antimicrobial resistance also is placing a significant burden on our health care system — costing over $20 billion annually in health care costs according to one study. To save patients' lives, we support U.S. efforts that strive to achieve the laudable goal of approving ten new systemic antibiotics by 2020."