On January 24, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), Majority Leader Bill Frist, MD, (R-Tenn.) and others introduced a broad homeland security bill (S. 3) that would extend patents for biodefense and infectious disease products, strengthen intellectual property rights, create tax incentives, reform liability laws, and include other provisions intended to eliminate barriers that make the infectious disease market unattractive to industry. The bill is aimed at preparing the nation for pandemic influenza and other emerging infectious threats.
"It's a simple fact; infectious disease physicians are running out of the tools we desperately need to treat patients. At the same time that we are seeing an increase in drug-resistant infections, we are also seeing a decline in the development of new antibiotics to treat such infections," said IDSA President Walter E. Stamm, MD.
In July 2004, IDSA released a report, Bad Bugs, No Drugs: As Antibiotic Discovery Stagnates … A Public Health Crisis Brews, which highlighted the problem and outlined possible incentives to spur research and development of new anti-infectives.
"The market for antibiotics, vaccines, and other anti-infectives will never be as attractive as the market for drugs that treat chronic conditions or lifestyle issues. That's why we need innovative public policy in this area," said John G. Bartlett, MD, chair of IDSA's Task Force on Antimicrobial Availability.
"We are encouraged to see that leaders in Congress have recognized how urgent this problem is, and we st