It’s no secret that the landscape for developing new antibiotics poses many obstacles for drug companies, both scientific and financial.

To begin with, finding substances with novel mechanisms to combat bacterial pathogens is challenging and expensive. When scientists do identify a promising antibacterial candidate, the subsequent path to regulatory approval of new drugs is long and winding. Then, once these drugs are on the market, they are only used for only short periods.

On top of those challenges, in a time when growing resistance to the current arsenal of antibiotics has illustrated the need for prudent use of this limited resource, there is a desire to withhold new antibiotics until they are absolutely needed. The longer the drugs stay on the shelf, the longer it will take for resistance to develop.

Now, new research by a team from the University of Wisconsin (UW) has put a number on how long some hospitals are delaying the use of these new drugs.

In a study published recently in Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease, the researchers found that US hospitals on average waited more than a year to prescribe any of six new antibiotics approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) within the past 5 years.

“When you’re in the field, you have a sense that the use of these drugs is delayed,” said study co-author Warren Rose, PharmD, a professor in the UW-Madison School of Pharmacy, told CIDRAP News. “But to know, from our results, that it was on average more than a year, was really surprising.”

Read more at CIDRAP…

Credit: iStock, Fahroni

See also:

Jun 22 Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis abstract

Jun 19 N Engl J Med paper on nonprofit antibiotic development

Apr 16 CIDRAP News story “Achaogen bankruptcy raises worry over antibiotic pipeline”

Jun 12 IDSA statement on DISARM Act