As We Develop New Antibiotics, We Need to Address Overuse

As resistant bacteria become a greater problem, we desperately need to develop new antibiotics. The development process for a new antibiotic takes a considerable amount of time (up to 10 years), and drug companies have previously neglected this area of drug development.

Congress has recognized that antibiotic overuse is a major problem and recently passed the 21st Century Cures bill. This bill includes provisions that would create payment incentives from Medicare for hospitals that use new antibiotics.

But this approach would have the perverse effect of increasing the use of any new antibiotics in our arsenal without regard for whether bacterial resistance has developed. This would not only exacerbate the problem of resistance, but potentially lead to more people developing allergies.

Congress should consider more than just supporting increased development of new antibiotics, but also address the core problem of overuse.

This may stave off the further development of antibiotic resistant bacteria and reduce the trend of increasing development of allergies.

The Conversation

Avery August, Professor of Immunology and Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Cornell University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.