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Paulsen, Thompson Introduce Legislation to Encourage Research for Antibiotics Treatments

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Erik Paulsen (MN-03) and Congressman Mike Thompson (CA-05) have introduced the bipartisan Reinvigorating Antibiotic and Diagnostic Innovation (READI) Act to encourage research and development for new antibiotics that treat a serious or life-threatening infection and for the development of new rapid diagnostic tests.

This initiative is a step forward in combating antibiotic resistance and will help advance research and development in this area. More people are contracting dangerous infections that existing drugs cannot treat effectively. As a result, patients often end up with lengthy hospital stays or costly treatments such as surgery or chemotherapy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 2 million individuals in the U.S. are sickened by antibiotic-resistant bacteria annually; at least 23,000 die every year. The CDC estimates this costs the U.S. health care system about $20 billion annually. The READI Act will remove economic barriers to research and development of new antibiotics and rapid diagnostic tests through the creation of a new tax credit.

“Bacterial infections are increasingly becoming a difficult, and sometimes grim, matter for many patients and their families across Minnesota, the country, and the globe -- but we can change that,” said Congressman Paulsen. “This bipartisan initiative will help drive research and development in antibiotics and reestablish the U.S. as a leader in this area.”

“Antibiotic resistance represents a huge threat to our health system that puts everyone at risk,” said Congressman Thompson. “The pipeline for new antibiotics and diagnostics to treat resistant conditions isn’t as strong as it should be. This bill will incentivize the development of new antibiotics and diagnostics to reduce the risk of serious infections.”

“Antibiotic resistance is threatening our ability to provide many types of medical care—including solid organ and bone marrow transplants, joint replacements, cancer chemotherapy, care of preterm infants, and care of deep combat wounds and burns in our military service men and women—all of which rely on the availability of safe and effective antibiotics,” said Johan Bakken, IDSA Past President and an ID physician in Duluth, MN. “The READI Act will help spur the research and development of life-saving new antibiotics for our patients.”

“Most pharmaceutical companies have retreated from antibiotic research and development because antibiotics are difficult and costly to develop and fail to provide a profit,” said Henry “Chip” Chambers, IDSA board member and Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at San Francisco General Hospital. “They are typically inexpensive and taken for a short duration, unlike many drugs for chronic diseases.  Further, we aim to limit antibiotics’ use, because overuse drives the development of resistance and renders them ineffective. This is a phenomenon unique to antimicrobial drugs. The READI Act will provide a much needed incentive for companies to develop the new antibiotics that patients so desperately need.”

Congressman Paulsen, a champion of small business and advocate of free enterprise, entrepreneurship, and innovation, serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, the bicameral Joint Economic Committee, and is co-chair of the Congressional Medical Technology Caucus.

For more information on Congressman Paulsen’s work in Congress visit paulsen.house.gov

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