Friday, 27 March 2015

Obama Unveils Plan to Tackle Antibiotic Resistance

WebMD Health News

March 27, 2015 -- The Obama administration is pledging to end the widespread practice of using antibiotics to boost the growth of animals that are raised for food in the U.S.

“The National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria” also directs the FDA to make meat producers get a veterinarian’s okay in order to buy the drugs for other reasons in animals. 

The FDA had recommended those measures before, but it didn't require livestock producers to comply.

The new report gives the agency a year to set final changes to the labels of “medically important” antibiotics sold for animals being raised for food. The changes will make it illegal to sell these antibiotics without a vet’s prescription.

The plan also includes new proposals intended to stem the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and speed new tests and treatments to people:

  • The creation of new DNA databanks of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. These will serve as reference libraries to help disease detectives trace the sources of resistant infections. They'll help scientists develop new treatments, too.
  • Changes to the designs of clinical trials, so that new drugs could be tested on patients even when outbreaks of these infections are sporadic and affect relatively small numbers of people.
  • New requirements for hospitals to track and report their antibiotic use.
  • Prize money to spur the development of tests that could help doctors quickly tell if an infection is caused by bacteria or viruses -- and if it is caused by bacteria, which drugs would work to kill them.

In an interview with WebMD, President Barack Obama called antibiotic resistance a pressing public health issue that is vital to our national security.

“They [antibiotics] save the lives of service members wounded in battle. They prevent infections in one community from spreading far and wide. They’re also a critical defense against bio-terrorism. They are, quite simply, essential to the health of our people and people everywhere,” he said.

He called on Congress to help fund the plan, but said the administration would act where it could to implement parts of it on its own. The plan will nearly double the amount of money spent on fighting antibiotic resistance to more than $1.2 billion.

“We can better protect our children and grandchildren from the reemergence of diseases and infections that the world conquered decades ago,” Obama said.

source : Obama Unveils Plan to Tackle Antibiotic Resistance

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