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Antibiotics Conference Addresses Lack of New Drugs to Fight Deadly Superbugs

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Leaders from government, industry, academia, medicine and science today will come together to discuss one of the most pressing health challenges we face: the rising incidence of drug-resistant bacteria and the lack of new antibiotics to fight them.  The conference, "Reviving the Pipeline of Life-Saving Antibiotics: Exploring Solutions to Spur Innovation," is organized by the Pew Health Group, the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

Each year, antibiotic-resistant infections claim tens of thousands of American lives and cost our health care system tens of billions of dollars.  Yet as resistant pathogens grow more prevalent, the pipeline of new antibiotics has slowed to a trickle, leaving physicians and their patients with few treatment options.

The conference will focus on three issues.  During the first session, speakers will discuss the nature of our unmet medical needs and which patients and diseases are becoming most difficult to treat because of drug resistance and the lack of new antibiotics.  During the second and third sessions, speakers will explore ways we can overcome the scientific and regulatory challenges and the economic challenges, respectively, that hinder the development of new antibiotics.

"As drug-resistant bacteria rapidly emerge, the pace of antibiotic innovation has fallen dramatically," said Sharon Ladin, director of the Pew Health Group's Antibiotics and Innovation Project. "We hope today's conference will move us closer to developing new medicines we need most to fight the next generation of deadly superbugs."

"Unless we address this crisis now, we face a future more like the days before antibiotics were developed, a time when people died of common infections, and many of the medical advances we take for granted today—including surgery, chemotherapy, and organ transplants—are no longer possible," said David Gilbert, M.D., FIDSA, chair of IDSA's Antimicrobial Availability Task Force. "For some bacteria, more than 70 percent of the strains are resistant to all of the major classes of antibiotics. The longer we wait to act, the bigger and more costly the problem will become, measured both in lives lost and rising health care costs."

"The development of life-saving antibiotics for patients is a paramount concern for industry.  Strengthening medical innovation and reviving the antibiotics pipeline will require input from all stakeholders," stated Sascha Haverfield, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs at PhRMA.  "We must work together to overcome the complex scientific, regulatory and economic challenges that hinder the development of new antibiotic medicines for patients. This conference is a tremendous opportunity for all stakeholders to come together and explore solutions that will help to address this urgent public health need."

About Pew Health Group
The Pew Health Group is the health and consumer-product safety arm of The Pew Charitable Trusts, a nonprofit organization that applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and stimulate civic life.

About IDSA
The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) is an organization of physicians, scientists, and other health care professionals dedicated to promoting health through excellence in infectious diseases research, education, patient care, prevention, and public health. The Society, which has more than 9,300 members, was founded in 1963 and is based in Arlington, Va. In 2010, IDSA launched the 10 x '20 initiative to spur the development of 10 new systemic antibiotics by 2020 as well as a sustainable antibiotic research and development enterprise for the long-term. For more information, see

About PhRMA
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country's leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $49.4 billion in 2010 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $67.4 billion in 2010. 

SOURCE The Pew Health Group
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