Senate bill targets drug-resistant 'superbugs'

Sens. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchNY's political prosecution of Manafort should scare us all Congress must break its addiction to unjust tax extenders The FDA crackdown on dietary supplements is inadequate MORE (R-Utah) and Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetCourt-packing becomes new litmus test on left New England Patriots player says he will remain in locker room during anthem next season Press: Which way do Dems go in 2020? MORE (D-Colo.) reintroduced legislation Friday to accelerate the approval of new antibiotics, particularly treatments to address drug-resistant "superbugs."

The bill, known as the PATH Act, would allow the Food and Drug Administration to speed up approval of antibiotics aimed serious conditions affecting limited patient populations. The medications would have to address an unmet need, according to the bill.

The senators tied the bill to the threat antibiotic-resistant bacteria poses to U.S. troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. More than one-third of those service members have developed a bacterial or fungal infection that could be life-threatening as result of their battle injuries, the Pentagon said.

"There is clear agreement among medical, scientific, and public health leaders that the federal government must act to stimulate development of urgently needed new antibiotics," said Infectious Diseases Society of America President Steve Calderwood in a written statement.

"There is broad support for the limited population antibacterial drug pathway which the PATH Act would establish. Congress must continue the momentum driving this issue on behalf of patients."

The bill was previously introduced Dec. 10, 2014.