Renewed Introduction of the PASTEUR Act Returns AMR to National Agenda
The renewed introduction in the 117th Congress of the Pioneering Antimicrobial Subscriptions to End Upsurging Resistance (PASTEUR) Act, a bipartisan House and Senate bill to support the development of new antibiotics and promote their appropriate use, opens a critical opportunity for legislators to combat a growing and global public health crisis.
The legislation, which was introduced today by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Sen. Todd Young (R-IN), and by Rep. Michael Doyle (D-PA) and Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA), reflects Infectious Diseases Society of America priorities and recommendations and those of other experts in the field of antibiotic resistance. Following the release of the Biden Administration budget proposal for FY 22, which fell short on commitments to support antimicrobial stewardship, research and development, the measures supported by this legislation are more crucial than ever. In addition to attention to antibiotics, the re-introduced legislation would support the development of much needed antifungal medicines. The PASTEUR Act is a central mechanism through which the U.S. can meet its recent G7 commitments “to ensure sustainable innovation in antimicrobial R&D . . . whilst encouraging appropriate provisions for stewardship.”
Today, while most large pharmaceutical companies have abandoned antibiotic research and development, the small companies that remain struggle to survive. The bipartisan PASTEUR Act would establish a new avenue of federal support for the development of new antibiotics that are critically needed for patient care and public health. This approach, which would not be linked to the sales or use of those antibiotics, aims to address the challenges of recovering investments in 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 antibiotic stewardship programs in hospitals. Antibiotic stewardship programs have been demonstrated to improve patient outcomes, reduce inappropriate use of antibiotics and lower health care costs. New funds also will help hospitals report more data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to improve our national understanding of antibiotic use and resistance.
Increasing resistance and a dwindling antibiotic arsenal complicate life-saving interventions across the scope of medical care, including the treatment of secondary bacterial infections in patients with COVID-19. Antibiotic resistant infections jeopardize the safe provision of 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 will continue to urge Congress to advance the PASTEUR Act and the important solutions to a national health crisis that it provides.
Find more information on antimicrobial resistance here.