It’s the economics, stupid

We often hear that Big Pharma doesn’t develop drugs that treat diseases generally found in the less well off parts of the world, because there’s no money in it. We also hear that antibiotic-resistant superbugs are on the rampage, and that there’s no hope of outwitting them.

OK, what we actually hear is that bacteria are developing resistance to all the known antibiotics. What we don’t usually hear is that the reason that new antibiotics aren’t being discovered is that there’s no money in developing new ones (or not as much money as in other drugs, anyway).

For many years, the problem of resistance remained hypothetical because drug companies were consistently introducing new types of antibiotic. But antibiotics are a one-and-done treatment, and are far less profitable for Big Pharma than drugs taken daily to treat chronic conditions and, preferably, have no competition to keep costs down. … We’re in an evolutionary war with bacteria, but one of our best defenses pulled out due to economic incentives …

There’s more in this fascinating article. HT Izabella Kaminska.

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