Why Are New Drugs Needed?
This is the place to start because new drugs are not needed if the old ones are doing the job. But they aren't. This is particularly true in the realm of antibiotics. The number of illnesses that are treated by antibiotics that are resistant to the antibiotics currently on the market is growing quickly.
People are dying because of infections and the medications available to treat these infections are becoming useless. New antibiotics are badly needed. There is little antibiotic development in the works and what development there is appears to be a long way from providing any usable antibiotics.
Why Aren't Pharmaceutical Companies Developing New Antibiotics?
There are multiple reasons why pharmaceutical companies are not pouring money into antibiotic development. To put it simply, developing new antibiotics is not cost effective. Antibiotics are usually not taken for long periods of time because they cure conditions relatively quickly. They are not like other pills that are taken on an ongoing basis.
In addition, doctors try hard to not overprescribe antibiotics because this tens to lead to a resistance in patients to these types of drugs. This resistance is bound to happen at some point in time and when it does the antibiotic is no longer in demand. When a drug is no longer in demand then it no longer makes money and the investment in developing that drug no longer pays off.
This is why so many pharmaceutical companies steer clear of antibiotic development. It is just not a smart investment. This is especially true when you consider how much money can be made off of the development of other types of drugs, drugs that do not become obsolete. Or at least that do not become obsolete as quickly as antibiotics do.
How Can Pharmaceutical Companies Be Encouraged To Develop New Antibiotics?
Pharmaceutical companies will develop more antibiotics when it is more profitable to do so. Governments could decide to provide drug companies with extended patents on these antibiotics to help encourage the development process. These governments could also allow these drug companies to move this extension into another therapeutic category to make it more enticing.
This technique would help drug companies to hold on to the money that they could make on their drugs. Drug companies make a lot more while their patents are active and then take a hit whenever patents for popular drugs expire. Finally, the approval process for these new antibiotics could be sped up so that they could get out on the market and be making money sooner.
Pharmaceutical companies are running out of new drugs, antibiotics in particular. This is a dangerous thing because with the current antibiotics not being as effective against newer strains of certain diseases, there could come a time when there are illnesses that need antibiotic treatment but no effective antibiotics around.
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