The Fight Against Superbugs Is All About Money

The Fight Against Superbugs Is All About Money

Low demand and profitability have prompted large pharmaceutical companies to exit the antibiotics market.

As intensive care units around the country struggle to combat increasingly resistant bacteria, companies developing the new generations of antibiotics aimed at killing them are shutting down.

The reason? Low revenues that do not cover the substantial investments in R&D. Doctors and public health experts are taking notice and proposing funding alternatives.


Video Spotlight:We’re losing the war against bacteria, here’s why


This post is based on the Bloomberg article, Antibiotics Aren’t Profitable Enough for Big Pharma to Make More, by R. Langreth, May 3, 2019; and the YouTube video, We’re losing the war against bacteria, here’s why, by The New York Times, April 8, 2019. Image source: CDC/James Gathany

Discussion Questions:

1. Why are profits low in the antibiotics industry?

Guidance: Given the time and resources required to do the research, the R&D costs of developing a new antibiotic are typically high. Yet, the selling price is low compared to that of other drugs (e.g. cancer drugs), and the demand is relatively low. Not only are doctors reluctant to prescribe new antibiotics unless they are absolutely needed, but the demand Continue reading

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