Thursday, September 22, 2011

Health:  Among Antibiotics, Resistance Knows No Bounds

Antibiotics are less profitable than treatments for chronic conditions ...

Antibiotic treatments for infection are usually inexpensive and quick, completed in most cases within seven to 10 days. By contrast, Handelsman says, when drug companies develop a drug to lower blood pressure or cholesterol, for example, patients usually take it for the rest of their lives. Such repeat use — requiring repeat purchases — is much more attractive in determining what gets research and development funding within the pharmaceutical industry, especially since bringing a new antibiotic to market can cost from $100 million to $1 billion.

Meanwhile, say industry analysts, a drug approval process that mandates exhaustive testing and can span a decade has left some manufacturers disillusioned about antibiotic research.

Handelsman cites a recent pullback at Pfizer from antibiotic research and development, leaving just four major companies worldwide, carrying the entire antibiotic industry, and in most cases they don't have a massive effort going on either.

Because of this lack of profitability we've lost this vast amount of research that used to go on in the private sector.

It's a very frightening time because we have all the resistance developing to the antibiotics we're using. The probability that an infection can be treated with one of the known antibiotics is going down daily, and we don't have the replacements coming down the pipeline.

For much more, see Among Antibiotics, Resistance Knows No Bounds by David Richardson, September 15, 2011 at Miller-McCune.

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