The economics of new antibiotics

The second installment of PBS NewsHour’s series on the antibiotics crisis delves into why the pharmaceutical industry has little incentive to develop new ones.

In brief, the wise approach to new antibiotics is to develop them but hold them in reserve until they’re really needed. This obviously means that revenues would be delayed. Also, unlike a new cholesterol drug that patients might take for the rest of their lives, most antibiotics are used for only a very limited amount of time.

In passing the report notes that perhaps 30 percent of antibiotics are prescribed unnecessarily, which promotes the development of drug-resistant pathogens.


Other parts of this series:

  1. The antibiotic crisis is not getting any better
  2. The economics of new antibiotics
  3. Getting pharmaceutical companies to develop new antibiotics
  4. Farming and antibiotics overuse

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