Superbugs are infections resistant to antibiotics; when these ailments do not respond to medicines, they are called antimicrobial resistance (AMR). In 2019, 5 million people worldwide and 173,000 deaths in the United States died from AMR-associated issues.
AMR is even worse for dialysis patients because they are particularly susceptible to infections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that people on dialysis are 100 times more likely to develop a staph bloodstream infection compared to those not on dialysis. Unfortunately, there has been a lack of innovation in antibiotic drugs. The last new class of antibiotics came to market in 1984. Pharmaceutical companies could only bring 12 new antibiotics to patients in 2017 and 2021. More needs to be done to address AMR.
In April 2023, a bipartisan group of Senators and Congressmen introduced the Pioneering Antimicrobial Subscriptions To End Upsurging Resistance (PASTEUR) Act. The bill aims to increase the number of antibiotics and prioritize new, more potent medicines that can treat severe infections.
The PASTEUR Act would specifically:Create a "Committee on Critical Need Antimicrobials," comprising federal agency officials, doctors, patients, and experts. The committee would decide which infections are of most concern and what properties the potential drugs should possess. Establish a "Subscription Model," providing companies with up-front funding and a regular subscription payment to develop the new drugs. In return, the companies would give access to these drugs to patients. Expand data collection and reporting on antibiotic use, resistance, and patient outcomes data through the CDC National Healthcare Safety Network.
Please contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives.