Antibiotic resistance: Why Big Pharma can't combat our second-worst killer

With swine flu giving viruses all the attention, bacteria probably felt a little jealous, because now it's trying to steal the media spotlight with a pandemic of its own. "Antibiotic resistance is an international pandemic that compromises the treatment of all infectious diseases," says a new report from the American Academy of Microbiology. "Resistance essentially is uncontrollable."

Pharmaceutical companies were quick to jump on the swine flu (H1N1) bandwagon and develop a vaccine -- attracting hundreds of millions of dollars of contracts from governments around the world in the process. But when it comes to antibiotics and fighting the growing problem of antibacterial resistance, the world doesn't seem as interested. The AAM's findings adds its voice to recent warnings on antibiotic research from the London School of Economics and Political Science, which agrees that Big Pharma needs better incentives for developing antibiotics.