Antibiotic use triggers evolutionary and ecological responses from bacteria, leading to antibiotic resistance and harmful patient outcomes. Two complementary strategies support long-term antibiotic effectiveness: conservation of existing therapies and production of novel antibiotics. Conservation encompasses infection control, antibiotic stewardship, and other public health interventions to prevent infection, which reduce antibiotic demand. Production of new antibiotics allows physicians to replace existing drugs rendered less effective by resistance.
In recent years, physicians and policymakers have raised concerns about the pipeline for new antibiotics, pointing to a decline in the number of antibiotics approved since the 1980s. This trend has been attributed to high research and development costs, low reimbursement for antibiotics, and regulatory standards for review and approval. Professional societies and researchers around the world have called for renewed emphasis on antimicrobial stewardship, while also supporting antibiotic research and development through grants, changes to intellectual property laws to extend market exclusivity periods, and modification of premarket testing regulations to reduce antibiotic development time and expenses.