WASHINGTON, DC— U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) has cosponsored the Generating Antibiotic Incentives Now (GAIN) Act, bipartisan legislation to spur development of new antibiotics to combat the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Bob Corker (R-TN) introduced the legislation, which was also cosponsored by Senators Bennet (D-CO), Hatch (R-UT) and Alexander (R-TN).
“Antibiotic resistant bacteria cost the U.S. healthcare system more than $20 billion a year and lead to countless preventable deaths,” said Senator Casey. “This bill will spur the development of new drugs to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which disproportionately affect children and the elderly and have increasingly affected our troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.”
While antibiotics are widely used by doctors to treat common infections, an increasing number of strains of bacterial infections are immune to existing antibiotics. The GAIN Act will provide incentives to increase the commercial value of innovative antibiotic drugs and streamline the regulatory process so that pioneering infectious disease products can reach patients. Antibiotic-resistant infections are on the rise, causing tens of thousands of deaths each year - disproportionately affecting children and the elderly - and leading to $26 billion in extra costs annually to the U.S. health care system.
Antibiotic resistant “superbugs” have been on the rise for the last decade, with the rate of antibiotic resistant Staph infections approaching 50%. Currently, antibiotic-resistant MRSA infections are responsible for over 17,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.
The issue increasingly affects troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, as many of them have been exposed to a new, highly-resistant and contagious strain of Acinetobacter bacteria - 89% of infections caused by mutant strains of Acinetobacter are resistant to at least three classes of antibiotics and 15% are resistant to all forms of treatment.
The GAIN Act has been endorsed by 39 groups, including the National Military Vets Alliance, American Medical Association, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Children’s National Medical Center. The GAIN Act was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives in June, led by Representatives Phil Gingrey (R-GA) and Diana DeGette (D-CO).