WITHOUT new therapies, the United Nations say the global death toll could soar to 10 million by 2050.

But FINANCIAL woes threaten to stifle the development of more effective drugs.

At a time when germs are growing more resistant to common antibiotics, many companies that are developing new versions of the drugs are hemorrhaging money and going out of business, gravely undermining efforts to to contain the spread of deadly drug-resistant bacteria.

Antibiotic start-ups like Achaogen and Aradigm have gone belly up in recent months, pharmaceuticals behemoths like Novartis and Allergan have abandoned the sector and many of the remaining American antibiotic companies are teetering on the brink of insolvency.

One of the biggest developers of antibiotics, Melinta Therapeutics, recently warned regulators it was running out of cash.

Experts say the grim financial outlook for the few companies still committed to antibiotic research is driving away investors and threatening to strangle the development of new life saving drugs at a time when they are urgently needed.

''This is a crisis that should alarm everyone,'' said Dr. Helen Boucher, a specialist in infectious diseases at Tufts Medical Center in Boston and a Member of the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria.

The problem is straightforward. The companies that have invested billions to develop the drugs have not found a way to make money selling them.

Most antibiotics are prescribed for just days or weeks - unlike medicines for chronic conditions like diabetes of rheumatoid arthritis that have been the blockbusters - and many hospitals have been unwilling to pay high prices for the new therapies.

Political gridlock in Congress has thwarted legislative efforts to address the problem.

The challenge facing facing antibiotic makers come at a time when many of the drugs designed to vanquish infections are becoming ineffective against bacteria and fungi, and overuse of the decades old drugs has spurred them to develop defenses against the medicines.

Drug resistant bacteria now kill 35,000 people in the United States each year and sickens 2.8 million, according a report that from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released last month.

Without new therapies, the United Nations says the global death toll could soar to 10 million by 2050.

The honor and serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Life Saving Pharmaceuticals and Research, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Andrew Jacobs.


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