(Washington, DC) – Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) today introduced the Generating Antibiotic Incentives Now (GAIN) Act, bipartisan legislation to spur development of new antibiotics to combat the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Senators Blumenthal and Corker were joined by Senators Bennet (D-CO), Hatch (R-UT), Casey (D-PA), and Alexander (R-TN).
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.
Blumenthal said, “Superbugs or mutant germs resistant to present antibiotics are a growing public health horror – now targeted through this bipartisan proposal to speed creation and approval of new drugs against them. The threat of these new resistant bacterial infections, particularly threatening to children, seniors, and our returning troops, requires innovative antibiotics. Incentives for research and development and fast track FDA review are needed to stop these bacteria and infections from spreading.”
"Drug-resistant infections in Tennessee and across our country are posing an increasing threat to public health, and the federal government can play a constructive role in helping spur innovation of new drugs for treating these conditions. Without putting any federal dollars at stake, our bill provides meaningful market incentives to encourage development of new antibiotics that will help save lives and reduce health care costs,” Corker said. “By strengthening this segment of the market that currently has only a handful of new drugs in the pipeline, we can help ensure Americans at home and our troops abroad have access to treatments capable of combating these deadly infections.”
“We commend Sen. Blumenthal and Sen. Corker for their bipartisan leadership and are committed to working with them and their colleagues in the Senate and the House to pass the GAIN Act,” said Sharon Ladin, director of the Pew Health Group’s Antibiotics and Innovation Project. “The bill creates incentives to spur antibiotic innovation and brings us one step closer to delivering new, life-saving medicines to the growing number of Americans who urgently need them.”
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).