to address antibiotic resistance with little success.135 To adequately address
this public health concern, Congress must act expediently to address both
conservation and innovation in the field of antibiotics.
In 1995, Congress first addressed the issue of antibiotic resistance
with the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment (COTA) and its
Impacts of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria report.136 Then, the
General Accounting Office (GAO) issued another report to Congress
warning about the emergence, spread, and threat of antibiotic resistance in
1999.137 In 2000, the Public Health Threats and Emergencies Act aimed to
establish an Antimicrobial Resistance Task Force to coordinate federal
programs and provide grants to combat antibiotic resistance.138 Shortly
after, in 2001, the Energy and Commerce Committee presented the
Antibiotic Resistance Prevention Act, which aimed to fund antibiotic
resistance awareness and research.139 However, neither of these bills ever
garnered enough support to pass into law.140
In 2005, Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) introduced the Project
BioShield II Act.141 The bill aimed to boost R& D to countermeasure against
biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological weapons, in addition to
infectious disease outbreaks.142 The bill included a “wild-card patent term
extension” in which “the patent holder for a novel antibiotic or
counterterrorism agent would receive a patent term extension” of three
months to two years that may “be applied either to the antibiotic, the
counterterrorism agent, or any other patent held by the patent owner.”143
The bill was never acted upon after its initial hearing following pushback
from lobbying groups representing generic pharmaceutical
135. Andrew Geltman, Defusing the Bug Bomb: Legal Strategies to Combat Antibiotic
Resistant Infections, 18 J. HEALTH CARE L. & POL’Y 115, 117 (2015).
136. See generally U.S. CONG., OFF. OF TECH. ASSESSMENT, OTA-H-6298, IMPACTS OF
ANTIBIOTIC-RESISTANT BACTERIA iii (1995), http://ota.fas.org/reports/9503.pdf (discussing
what was known about antibiotic-resistant bacteria and describing research and development
directed at controlling them).
137. See generally U.S. GOV’T ACCOUNTABILITY OFF., GAO-99-132, ANTIMICROBIAL
RESISTANCE: DATA TO ASSESS PUBLIC HEALTH THREAT FROM RESISTANT BACTERIA ARE
LIMITED (1999), http://www.gao.gov/assets/230/227221.pdf (discussing what was known
about the public health burden due to antimicrobial resistance and forecasting the potential
138. Public Health Threats and Emergencies Act, H.R. 4964, 106th Cong. (2000); Fox,
supra note 29, at 49.
139. Antibiotic Resistance Prevention Act of 2001, H.R. 1771, 107th Cong. (2001); Fox,
supra note 29, at 49.
140. Fox, supra note 29, at 49.
141. Project Bioshield II Act of 2005, S. 975, 109th Cong. § 301 (2005).
142. Id.; Jessica P. Schulman, Patents and Public Health: The Problems with Using
Patent Law Proposals to Combat Antibiotic Resistance, 59 DEPAUL L. REV. 221, 231 (2009).
143. Schulman, supra note 142, at 231–32.