A major non-event!
Depomed's earth-shattering medical advance is that unlike Cipro's twice a day dosing, Proquin XR only needs to be taken once a day. The spectrum of activity (the range of different bacteria that it is effective against) is no different than for Cipro and Proquin XR does nothing to increase our armamentarium against increasingly resistant microbes.
A once a day drug would represent a significant advantage over a twice a day drug if there were no others in this class (fluoroquinolones). With greater ease of administration, patient compliance would be expected to be higher and incomplete dosing would be less of a problem. This is important because when a patient fails to complete an antibiotic course this can select for more resistant organisms that may be more difficult to treat later (and that may be passed on to others).
However, there are at least two fluoroquinolones with similar spectrums of activity available in the U.S.: Levaquin (levofloxacin) and Avelox (moxifloxacin) both of which require only once a day dosing.
What this means is that Depomed spent a massive amount of R & D dollars getting FDA approval for a superfluous drug that fails to address any particularly important clinical problems. This makes Proquin XR a classic "me too" drug, a drug that serves no function other than to allow this company to go after market share in an area that already has acceptable alternatives.
I don't begrudge Depomed this decision (well maybe a little as a matter of corporate ethics). It was a business move and they should be allowed to make it. I believe in the benefits of a free market. However, I do believe that this underscores an absolutely critical problem. Society needs better antibiotics to cope with the problem of increasing bacterial resistance. Until companies are given better incentives to develop such drugs, such development will not occur. The public's health will be the worse for it.
I've written before about the gravely serious nature of this problem and some viable solutions. Check it out.