21st Century Cures initiative discusses growing threat of antibiotic resistance

The Energy and Commerce Committee discuss future of drug resistance
The Energy and Commerce Committee discuss future of drug resistance

Politicians and health experts gathered for a Subcommittee on Health hearing on Friday to discuss the future of drug resistance and explore options to decrease this threat under the committee's 21st Century Cures initiative.

Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Penn.) chaired the subcommittee, and those in attendance heard from many prominent experts in the field, including Janet Woodcock, the director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

"British Prime Minister David Cameron warned in July that if we do not confront the threat of antibiotic resistance, we could be 'cast back into the dark ages of medicine where treatable infections and injuries will kill once again,'" Pitts said. "And, just yesterday, the president announced an executive order focused on efforts his administration plans to take with regards to the antibiotic resistance issue."

Woodcock said that while some work in the area has helped the issue, more efforts are required to truly effect change.

Barbara Murray, the president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, agreed with Woodock.

"Antibiotic [research and development]..face significant barriers," Murray said. "Discovery is hard. Scientific challenges lead to very high development costs."

Despite these faults, Murray, Woodcock and Pitts encouraged more development and research on antibiotic resistance.

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U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce

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