A Congressman from Illinois is working on a bill he says will encourage drug companies to develop new antibiotics.
More than 23,000 Americans a year die from bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.
15th District Republican John Shimkus says there’s a real need for new antibiotic drugs.
“The problem is, you're wanting these antibiotics that can fight and win this microbial war, you want it on the shelf in hopes of never having to use it. The question is: How can you encourage the industry to produce a product which you hope they never have to use?”
He says pharmaceutical companies are hesitant to invest in new antibiotics -- because they’re unlikely to generate large profits.
“There is a real fear that there will be a time when our antibiotics will not be able to stop the spread. And our concern is we need to be able to have antibiotics available to meet the need.”
Shimkus says that’s why he introduced a bill that he says would help drug companies recoup their losses. It would allow them to extend the life of a patent on a different drug by one year.
The bill failed to make it out of a committee as part of a package of pandemic preparedness legislation.
Shimkus says he may consider reintroduce the measure as a standalone bill after the August break.