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Congressmen Ferguson & Doyle introduce PASTEUR Act to promote new antimicrobial drugs

Washington, D.C.  – December 9, 2020 –  Today, U.S. Representatives Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Drew Ferguson (R-GA) introduced the Pioneering Antimicrobial Subscriptions to End Upsurging Resistance (PASTEUR) Act to encourage the development of critically needed antimicrobials and antibiotics – and to ensure their appropriate use and domestic supply.

“Antimicrobial resistance is an urgent public health threat that requires a comprehensive, bipartisan solution,” said Congressman Doyle. “Infectious disease experts agree that our next public health crisis could be caused by drug-resistant infections, and we mustn’t be caught flat-footed. The PASTEUR Act will help scientists and researchers bring better antimicrobials to the market, and it will help hospitals and doctors ensure these drugs are used properly.”    

“The public health, economic, and national security threats of antimicrobial resistance could have serious implications if left unresolved,” said Congressman Ferguson. Pandemic preparedness is first and foremost about having the right preventative tools available, and antibiotics are without question one of these key tools. The PASTEUR Act brings together the public and private sectors to research and develop strong and effective antibiotics. This important piece of legislation will safeguard new antibiotic developments and prevent R&D from falling behind.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, more than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur in the United States each year, and at least 35,000 people die as a result. Unfortunately, financial incentives to develop drugs to treat many of these life-threatening infections are lacking.

The PASTEUR Act would address these market failures and increase public health preparedness by keeping novel antibiotics on the market and improving appropriate antibiotic use across the health care system. While current contracts between the government and drug makers base payment on volume, the PASTEUR Act would establish a subscription-style model which would offer antibiotic developers an upfront payment in exchange for access to their antibiotics, encouraging innovation and ensuring our health care system is prepared to treat antibiotic-resistant infections. 

Public health experts agree that the PASTEUR Act is an essential component of our response to combat antimicrobial resistance:

“Antibiotics are central to our preparedness and the foundation of modern medical care, but growing antibiotic resistance and the fragile antibiotic pipeline leave us extremely vulnerable. The PASTEUR Act will sustain antibiotic research and development and provide essential new resources to support antibiotic stewardship.”Cornelius J. Clancy, MD; Associate Chief, Infectious Diseases, University of Pittsburgh

“Antibiotic resistant infections seriously jeopardize our ability to provide complex medical care, including transplants and other surgeries, cancer chemotherapy, and care for patients seriously ill with COVID-19.  IDSA is proud to support the PASTEUR Act to ensure we have the antibiotics we need and to drive the appropriate use of antibiotics to protect their effectiveness.”Barbara D. Alexander MD, MHS, FIDSA; President, Infectious Diseases Society of America; Professor of Medicine and Pathology at Duke University School of Medicine

“Our ability to fight infections underpins modern medicine, but, in the battle between innovation and resistance, resistance is currently winning. COVID-19 has underscored the importance of preparedness and the threat of AMR looms large – the PASTEUR Act is an important step forward in that fight against antimicrobial resistance and infectious disease,” said Ken Thorpe, Chairman, Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease; Advisory Board, Partnership to Fight Infectious Disease.

The PASTEUR Act would:

  • Establish a subscription model to encourage innovative antimicrobial drug development aimed at treating drug-resistant infections. This model will be fully delinked, meaning that participating developers would not receive income, as a part of their subscription payments, based on volume or quantity of sales.  
    • Subscription contracts would contain terms and conditions including product availability to individuals on a government health insurance plan, supporting appropriate use, and completion of postmarketing studies. These contracts could be valuated between $750 million and $3 billion.
  • Build on existing frameworks to improve usage of the CDC National Healthcare Safety Network and other programs to collect and report on antibiotic use and resistance data.
  • Include transition measures such as smaller subscription contracts to support novel antimicrobial drug developers that need a financial lifeline.



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