The Antimicrobial Availability Task Force (AATF) of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) has viewed with concern the decreasing investment by major pharmaceutical companies in antimicrobial research and development. Although smaller companies are stepping forward to address this gap, their success is uncertain. The IDSA proposed legislative and other federal solutions to this emerging public health problem in its July 2004 policy report "Bad Bugs, No Drugs: As Antibiotic R&D Stagnates, a Public Health Crisis Brews." At this time, the legislative response cannot be predicted. To emphasize further the urgency of the problem for the benefit of legislators and policy makers and to capture the ongoing frustration our clinician colleagues experience in their frequent return to an inadequate medicine cabinet, the AATF has prepared this review to highlight pathogens that are frequently resistant to licensed antimicrobials and for which few, if any, potentially effective drugs are identifiable in the late-stage development pipeline.