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Representatives Introduce PASTEUR Act to Build, Protect Antibiotic Access

Congressional Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA) today introduced The Pioneering Antimicrobial Subscriptions to End Upsurging Resistance (PASTEUR) Act, a House bill to support the development of new antibiotics and promote appropriate use of existing ones, helping to limit the increase and spread of resistant infections. The legislation, which was introduced Sept. 30 in the Senate by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Sen. Todd Young (R-IN), reflects priorities and recommendations promoted by the Infectious Diseases Society of America and other experts in the field of antibiotic resistance.

The bipartisan legislation would establish a new avenue of support for the development of critically needed new antibiotics that would not be linked to the sales or use of those antibiotics. Instead, a subscription model providing federal payment to companies that develop antibiotics would ensure a predictable return on investments into new antibiotics that are critically needed for patient care and public health. The approach could help overcome some of the unique challenges currently stymieing development of infection-fighting drugs that must be used in a limited fashion to preserve their effectiveness.

In addition, the PASTEUR Act provides measures to promote appropriate antibiotic use, including by establishing a new grant program to support the launch and continuing activities of antibiotic stewardship programs in hospitals and to help more hospitals report antibiotic use and resistance data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Healthcare Safety Network. Antibiotic stewardship programs have been demonstrated to improve patient outcomes, reduce inappropriate use of antibiotics and lower health care costs. New funds will help hospitals strengthen their programs and launch additional evidence-based stewardship interventions, as well as report more data to CDC to improve our national understanding of antibiotic resistance.

Today, while most large pharmaceutical companies have abandoned antibiotic research and development, the small companies that remain struggle to survive. Increasing resistance and a dwindling antibiotic arsenal complicate many areas of medical care, including secondary bacterial infections in patients with COVID-19, and jeopardize our ability to safely provide cancer chemotherapy, transplants and other surgeries. CDC estimates that at least 2.8 million people across America suffer from antibiotic resistance annually, and at least 35,000 die as a result.

IDSA urges Congress to advance the PASTEUR Act and the important solutions to a national health crisis that it provides.

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