- In the United States the CDC estimates, more than two million people have antibiotic-resistant infections every year, with at least 23,000 dying as a result. (1)
- In the European Union alone, drug-resistant bacteria are estimated to cause 25,000 deaths and cost more than $1.5 billion every year in healthcare expenses and productivity losses.(2)
Antibiotics have saved millions of lives and eased the suffering of patients. They have been dubbed “wonder drugs” and deserve much of the credit for the dramatic increase in life expectancy in the United States and around the world; however, they are not always effective. Over time, bacteria can develop resistance to existing drugs, making infections difficult if not impossible to treat.
The Institute of Medicine and federal officials have identified antibiotic resistance as increasing threats to U.S. public health. World health leaders have state that antibiotic- resistant microorganisms are “nightmare bacteria” that “pose a catastrophic threat” to people in every country in the world.
Among all of the bacterial resistance challenges, Gram-negative pathogens are particularly worrisome, because they are becoming resistant to nearly all antibiotics. The most serious gram-negative infections are healthcare-associated, Enterobacteriaceae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Acinetobacter. These are becoming an increasingly common challenge to treat in many hospitals due to growing resistance.
A key challenge in treating these infections is that the number of new antibiotics developed and approved has steadily decreased in the past three decades, leaving fewer options to treat resistant bacteria.
Only two new classes of antibiotics have been developed in the past 30 years, and it’s been more than 50 years since a new class of antibiotics to treat Gram-negative infections.(3)
|History of Antibiotic Discovery and Approval|
|Year Introduced||Class of Drug|
|1952||Macrolides/ Lincosamides/ Streptogramins|
Source: Food and Drug Administration (modified)
Presented by John H. Powers, MD, at April 15-16, 2004 “Antimicrobial Drug Development Workshop,” co-sponsored by FDA, IDSA, and the International Society of Anti-Infective Pharmacology.
- CDC Report: Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013 in the United States, 2013. http://www.cdc.gov/HAI/organisms/acinetobacter.html
- WHO Antibiotic Resistance Fact Sheet: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/antibiotic-resistance/en/ (accessed 5/24/16)
- Coates AR, Halls G, Hu Y. Novel classes of antibiotics or more of the same? British Journal of Pharmacology. 2011;163(1):184-194.