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Building Momentum for the Pasteur Act

A member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) leadership feels there is some inroads being made in Congress for this antimicrobial resistance legislation.

To the general public and those outside the Washington DC beltway, the Pioneering Antimicrobial Subscriptions to End Up surging Resistance (PASTEUR) Act seems like it is stalled and might not have a chance to get passed.

Initially introduced in Congress by US Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) in September of 2020, Bennet and Young along with and Representatives Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) and Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.) reintroduced the bill in June 2021.

For the uninitiated, the Pasteur Act is a bipartisan, bicameral piece of legislation aimed to incentivize innovative drug development targeting the most threatening infections, improve the appropriate use of antibiotics, and ensure domestic availability when needed.

As the prospective legislation was drafted over two years ago, it seems as if the bill has languished in getting through Congress.

However, to Amanda Jezek, senior vice president of public policy and government relations at IDSA, she has a different perspective.

“We are fighting to make sure we have a much stronger antibiotic arsenal because we don’t want any single physician to tell their patient I’m sorry we are out of options,” Jezek said in an interview at ID Week.

She is optimistic that the legislation will be passed. She said there are 65 bipartisan cosponsors in Congress for the bill. As part of trying to emphasize the bill, members of the IDSA Board members who were in Washington this past week visited with Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra as well as different members of Congress. When talking to staff of republican and democratic congressional members there is a bipartisan appeal to the Pasteur Act according to Jezek.

“Everywhere we go, people say, ‘yes we need action on AMR,’” Jezek stated. “We are excited to keep building the momentum and get this bill across the finish line and send it to the President’s desk.”

Jezek sat down to talk with Contagion who offered some insights into what IDSA is doing in terms of advocacy overall as well as with the Pasteur Act.