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FDA to outline antibiotic strategy

Dr. Scott Gottlieb
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb will announce the agency's new approach to antimicrobial resistance today, including ideas for encouraging drugmakers to come up with new antibiotics.

The details: The plan also includes steps to promote careful antibiotic stewardship in human and animal medicine, and new tools to better collect data on antimicrobial use and when pathogens become resistant.

1 big problem: The current system doesn't give pharma companies an incentive to make new antibiotics. The point is to use them sparingly enough that pathogens don't become resistant, but a drug companies’ profits depend on heavier use.

  • Gottlieb is expected to discuss the need for new payment models that better promote the development of new antibiotics. These models might pay more for drug upfront, but result in savings to the system down the road.
  • For example, hospitals could pay a subscription fee for access to doses of new antibiotics, which would have to be high enough to make drug companies' investment worthwhile.
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