A letter sent Wednesday by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) and more than 150 groups working in health care calls on congressional leaders to act before the current legislative session ends on Jan. 3 to pass the PASTEUR Act, which would promote new treatments for antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
A statement announcing the letter calls antimicrobial resistance (AMR) “one of the biggest public health dangers of our time.” Without action, AMR is projected to kill 10 million per year by 2050. We need new antimicrobials, but the market is broken, with fewer than 70 antimicrobial programs in the pipeline.
The PASTEUR (Pioneering Antimicrobial Subscriptions To End Up-Surging Resistance) Act would establish an outcomes and value-based alternative payment model where the government pays companies set amounts for critical-need antimicrobials based on a treatment’s value to public health. This model would be designed to provide a predictable return for companies, enabling them to continue innovating while incentivizing investments to support a more robust R&D pipeline. This new payment model would align market forces with public health realities by decoupling value from overall volume, with a “strategic partnership between biotech and the federal government,” explained Senate Democrat lead Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO).
The measure has 60 bipartisan sponsors in Congress, and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra has given support to its fundamental ideas.
The 117th Congress is about to close, and before Republicans assume control of the U.S. House, Democrats have a “huge to-do list” to complete. The PASTEUR Act belongs on the lame-duck agenda, according to the letter, since putting it off would delay development of innovative antibiotics that may be used to treat highly resistant, life-threatening illnesses. These delays would be costly for many people.
BIO and the other signatories call for action from Congress and recommend that everyone contact their legislators and urge passage of the PASTEUR act without delay.