Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Reward Drug Companies for Restrained Use of New Antibiotics?

The following announcement comes by way of a website of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:

The news release refers to an article in the new issue of Health Affairs:

The article, by Aaron S. Kesselheim (medicine-Harvard) and Kevin Outterson (law-BU), proposes a novel way to pay drug companies for new antibiotics. They note that the present payment system encourages the misuse (wide overuse) of new antibiotics as a way to increase revenue before the drug goes off patent. The too-wide use of new antibiotics speeds the development of resistance to the antibiotic among bacteria, making the antibiotic ineffective more quickly. Restrained use of the new antibiotic would slow development of resistance but cost the company in terms of revenue.

Their proposed solution is to pay rewards to drug companies based on data that the drug continues to demonstrate a low level of resistance among targeted bacteria. This would (presumably) give drug companies a financial incentive to work in tandem with hospitals and physicians to use newer antibiotics in a targeted, restrained, scientifically thoughtful fashion.

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