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In a bid to combat antimicrobial resistance, two U.S. lawmakers have introduced a bipartisan bill that would create a new payment model to encourage drug makers to develop antibiotics.

Known as the Pasteur Act, the legislation would establish a subscription-style model to offer upfront payments to pharmaceutical companies in exchange for unlimited access to their antibiotics. The idea is to enable drug makers to recover their costs and make an appropriate profit without having to sell large volumes of antibiotics.


Over the past decade, several large drug makers left the market and, more recently, some small players have similarly withdrawn or failed. Growing the antibiotic market has proven difficult, though, because drug companies argue incentives have been lacking. At issue is a long-standing conundrum: Antibiotics may be needed, but are only most effective if used sparingly, at least for the most critical cases.

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