Gingrey said he thinks Congress will have the most impact by looking for ways to help bring advanced antibiotics to market, which he said has become “a huge problem.” Factors like the high cost of developing drugs and small profit margins have helped drive companies to markets where they have a better return on investment, he said.
“They have a bottom line. They have stockholders. They have employees,” Gingrey said. “It’s just business sense.”
In the Senate, Colorado Democrat Michael Bennet and Utah Republican Orrin G. Hatch have expressed support for the LPAD concept but have not introduced legislation.
Bennet spokesman Adam Bozzi said a bill is being considered, noting that the CDC report underscores the urgency of ensuring the FDA has the tools to address this problem. Matt Harakal, a spokesman for Hatch, said the senator continues to be interested in the proposal.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, on which Hatch and Bennet both serve, is scheduled to hold a hearing on health-care-associated infections on Tuesday.
Frieden, meanwhile, emphasized that prompt action is necessary on all four areas outlined in the report. If the country doesn’t act quickly, he described a bare medicine cabinet with no drug left to combat a life-threatening infection.
“There wouldn’t be much point in sounding an alarm if it was too late. It’s not too late,” Frieden said. “We still have the ability to stop and reverse antimicrobial resistance, or at least to slow it so that we can preserve the antibiotics that we have today for more years, so that we will have them available for our kids and our grandkids.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.