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For Immediate Release: June 9, 2010

Trust for America’s Health Testifies before Energy & Commerce Committee

Washington, DC, June 9, 2010 - Jeffrey Levi, PhD, Executive Director of Trust for America's Health (TFAH) testified before the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Health today at a hearing entitled, “Promoting the Development of Antibiotics and Ensuring Judicious Use in Humans.” Levi addressed how the market has failed to meet the need for new antimicrobials, and discussed research and development needed to address this problem. Levi expressed the need for federal leadership and prevention of transmission of resistant bacteria.

An excerpt from Levi's testimony is below:

“The problem of antimicrobial resistance will not be resolved until we have better diagnostics, new antimicrobial agents, and new vaccines.  But few new products are in the pipeline. This is primarily because the market has failed. We need to change that equation.

“To date, the largest federal investment in creating market incentives is through the Biomedical Advance Research and Development Authority (BARDA). Unfortunately, BARDA is chronically underfunded.  Even the proposed $476 million budget for FY 2011 is a fraction of what BARDA needs to incentivize development of a range of countermeasures, not just antimicrobials. 

“With scarce funding, the federal government has been unable to demonstrate to industry that they will be full partners.  The existing options beyond BARDA – including potential expansion of the Orphan Drug Act, prioritization vouchers for companies that focus on neglected tropical diseases, and advance purchase arrangements – are all necessary but, we believe, probably insufficient to create the research and manufacturing capacity and/or the demand for developing new antimicrobial agents.  These financial and regulatory incentives may continue to attract small companies, but we worry that they will not attract the larger companies with the manufacturing and marketing capacity to bring new antimicrobial products to scale. 

“Even if we successfully address the market issues, we still need policies and programs that will also create the intellectual capital in the academic- and private sector-based biomedical research community if we are to answer the range of basic research questions and then develop new products.”

View the full testimony here:

Trust for America's Health is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to saving lives by protecting the health of every community and working to make disease prevention a national priority.

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Contact

Elle Hogan (202) 223-9870 x 21 or EHogan@tfah.org