Antibiotics: the changing regulatory and pharmaceutical – published Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, January 2015
Drug licensing is changing. Previously, regulators prioritized the licensing of innovative drugs that fulfilled a high unmet medical need for a small number of patients, including orphan, cancer and HIV medicines. Alternatives to large and costly prospective, randomized, double-blind clinical trials have led to a more bespoke development, such as adaptive design studies. Regulators have recently agreed to include much-needed narrow-spectrum antibiotics, active against certain MDR bacteria, in this paradigm. The background to why big pharmaceutical companies have largely deserted the antibacterial research arena, and the proposals that are hoped to reinvigorate their interest, are presented.