Concerned about the growing threat of antibiotic-resistant “super bugs,” a coalition of more than 50 organizations is urging Congress to repair the research and development pipeline for new antibiotics.

“Many people may not realize how close we are to losing the ability to fight lethal infections,” said Thomas G. Slama, MD, president of the Infectious Disease Society of America, in a news release. “The antibiotics we currently have are becoming less effective because bacteria are constantly evolving and outsmarting the drugs used against them.”

Antibiotic infections kill nearly 100,000 in U.S. hospitals each year and increasingly affect healthy people as well. Despite the urgent need for new forms of treatment, the groups say the number of antibiotics under development “has plummeted due to scientific, regulatory and economic challenges.”

“The simple fact is we haven’t found the right combination of incentives to convince pharmaceutical companies to invest in developing the new antibiotics we desperately need,” said Jeff Levi, PhD, executive director of Trust for America’s Health, in a statement.

In a letter sent this week, the coalition, which includes APHA, urged Congress to adopt sufficient economic incentives as part of the upcoming Food and Drug Administration Prescription Drug User Fee Act. It also underscored the groups’ support for U.S. efforts to approve 10 new antibiotics by 2020, as called for by the Infectious Disease Society of America’s 10 x ‘20 Initiative.