But this play-it-safe attitude [of the Food and Drug Administration's] --even at the expense of human lives--is creating a devastating and potentially far more deadly impact: The pipeline for new antibiotics is drying up. Since the 1940s the miracle of penicillin and its relatives has saved tens of millions of lives. Antibiotics easily conquered such illnesses as pneumonia and tuberculosis, which routinely killed countless numbers of people each year. Bacteria, of course, can become drug-resistant, but for decades pharmaceutical companies, especially in the U.S., routinely came up with new antibiotics to fell new killer germs. Now, however, the flow of new stuff has dried to a trickle.
Authorities are taking note of all this, as is the U.S. Congress. Henry Waxman has declared that the pharmaceutical industry's failure to develop a reliable new class of antibiotics is an example of "market failure.” No it isn't, Henry; it's a failure of government regulation. The FDA has made clinical trials cost-prohibitive.
The entire column is here.