New medication could alleviate `superbug` - FOX 32 News Chicago

New medication could alleviate `superbug`

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Democratic congressman Danny Davis and republican congressman Peter Roskam may not see eye to eye politically. However, they're working together in the battle against deadly new strains of drug-resistant bacteria.

"Superbugs are a real problem. And they're a problem where we are all vulnerable," said Roskam.

Both congressmen said their eyes were opened when Advocate Lutheran General in Park Ridge announced earlier this year a new bacteria called C-R-E had infected 38 patients; none fatally.

The superbug was found on a type of scope used in a specific endoscopic procedure.

"Some patients were showing up with a very rare bacteria," said Dr. Leo Kelly

Due to the heavy use, some even say overuse of antibiotics, superbugs are a growing threat to public health. They have infected two million people a year in the United States and have killed more than 20,000.

Yet, big pharmaceutical companies have been reluctant to pour lots of money into research because of the small financial payoff. Unlike lucrative treatments for cholesterol, arthritis and other diseases, you would only need to take the superbug drug once.

"Unless the money is there to do the research, then of course it's nothing more than conversation," said Davis.

The Roskam-Davis bill would force Medicare to create a new and higher payment structure for the new antibiotics. This in turn creates an incentive for drug companies to develop new treatments.

"Nobody's gonna get rich off this. But the idea is we need these remedies. We need to be protected from these bugs, so let's change the way Medicare does reimbursement, so it begins to make sense," added Roskam.

The Roskam-Davis bill also requires better tracking of superbugs across the nation by the Centers for Disease Control. It attempts to cut the red tape between federal health agencies responding to a potential pandemic.

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