Is government needed for antibiotic development?

Posted May 8, 2014 by Tim Sandle
Major pharmaceutical companies are hindering the development of new antibiotics, according to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (U.K.).
Earlier the Digital Journal reported on the campaign launched by U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who has called for greater federal attention to the increase in antibiotic-resistant infections. Further to this important subject, a major U.K. science body has voiced concerns about the slow development of 'next generation' antibiotics.
In a new report, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society has called for new initiatives to spur on companies to discover new antibiotics, or people will start "dying from simple surgery".
Humans face the very real risk of a future without antibiotics. The implications of this are that life expectancy could fall due to people dying from diseases that are readily treatable today.
The Society sees the main problem being pharmaceutical companies not developing new antibiotics. The report argues that pharmaceutical firms tend to make drugs for more profitable, long term conditions. Simply put, the investment into new antibiotics doe snot generate sufficient profits for 'big pharma'.
The Society sees the only way forwards as government investment, to give the pharmaceutical companies incentives to develop new antibiotics.
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has come out at around the same time as a major report from the World Health Organization (WHO) about the global threat arising from antibiotic resistant bacteria. Pharmaceutical Microbiology provides a summary of the WHO report.