ANTIBIOTIC MEASURE DROPPED FROM SENATE VERSION — Meanwhile, a provision to boost payments for much-needed antibiotics has been dropped from the Senate GOP stimulus package, aides and lobbyists confirm. A corresponding measure was not in the House bill.

Conversations are ongoing, but it’s looking “pretty grim,” said one policy expert close to negotiations. The provision, drawn from the bipartisan DISARM Act, S. 1712 (116), would have boosted Medicare payments for antibiotics.

Proponents of the measure say it’s not just about bolstering the beleaguered antibiotic industry, which has been wracked by bankruptcies and mergers. The ongoing pandemic is about a virus — but many people who contract a virus actually end up dying from secondary infections, especially if they are in the hospital on a ventilator that can be susceptible to bacteria, argued the policy expert.

Is that the case with coronavirus? Too early to say, the experts say. But a few research papers “are starting to give us that smoke.”

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