IDSA outlines policy priorities for infectious diseases

November 15, 2023

2 min of reading

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Key Takeaways:

  • Antimicrobial resistance and ID compensation are on the IDSA priority list.
  • IDSA is also focused on reauthorizing PEPFAR.

The Infectious Diseases Society of America has outlined its top policy priorities for the field of ID, including finding new ways to encourage antibiotic development, increasing ID compensation and responding to global threats.

John Lynch, MD, MPH, FIDSA, professor of medicine in the division of allergy and infectious diseases at the University of Washington School of Medicine, said that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) remains one of the most concerning issues in the specialty.

Data derived from IDSA.

“Many diseases in the world of infectious diseases are becoming more challenging,” he said during a telebriefing for reporters. “So we’re facing this paradox in infectious diseases where many fields are advancing and seeing elimination or new treatments.” We see additional challenges, hard-to-treat infections and new pathogens that pose a challenge to all of us and our patients.”

Amanda Jezek, IDSA’s senior vice president of public policy and government relations said IDSA is lobbying Congress to pass the Pasteur Act, which would fund research to develop “new antibiotics that can actually work against these superbugs.”

The legislation, which was reintroduced by Democrats and Republicans in April, “would establish a subscription-style model [that] would offer antibiotic manufacturers an upfront payment in exchange for access to their antibiotics, spurring innovation and ensuring that our health care system is prepared to treat resistant infections,” say its sponsors in the US House and Senate. This would replace the current system where the government pays drug manufacturers based on volume.

As the field continues to face recruitment issues, Lynch said the IS workforce is scattered and disproportionately spread across the country.

“It’s a challenge because every person is at risk of an infectious disease,” he said.

Jezek said IDSA members have told stories of doctors who were interested in infectious diseases but stayed away from the specialty because it was “significantly undervalued compared to almost every other medical specialty.”

“What we really need is for Congress and CMS to level the playing field for ID so that this core specialty is able to recruit and retain the workforce we need to meet the nation’s growing needs,” Jezek said.

She also said that part of protecting people in the United States from infectious diseases is protecting people in other parts of the world, which requires efforts to maintain international participation in drug development and to reauthorize government programs such as the US President’s Emergency Response Plan. Aid to AIDS (PEPFAR), another policy priority. Reauthorization of PEPFAR, which was supposed to happen in September, is being held up by Republicans who argue that the program is being used to promote abortion.


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