There is clearly something wrong with pharmaceutical innovation.
Antibiotic-resistant infections sicken more than two million Americans every year and kill at least 23,000. The World Health Organization has warned that a “post-antibiotic era” may be upon us, when “common infections and minor injuries can kill.” Even the world’s tycoons consider the proliferation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria one of the crucial global risks of our times, according to a survey by the World Economic Forum.
Yet the enthusiasm of the pharmaceutical industry for developing drugs to combat such a potential disaster might be best characterized as a big collective “meh.”
And this is hardly the drug industry’s only problem. Antibiotics, Professor Kinch told me, “are the canary in the coal mine.”