Washington—Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced the Preventing Antibiotic Resistance Act to preserve the effectiveness of medically important antibiotics used to treat human and animal bacterial diseases.
The bill aims to reduce the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture that creates drug-resistant bacteria. The widespread use of antibiotics to promote livestock growth and to compensate for unsanitary, crowded conditions has led to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria and other pathogens, rendering many powerful drugs ineffective.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that at least two million illnesses and 23,000 deaths are caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria every year in the United States.
“Antibiotics are used far too carelessly, often when they aren’t needed to improve the health and well-being of animals,” said Senator Feinstein. “This overuse has resulted in an antibiotics arms race. As quickly as we create new antibiotics, new strains of disease emerge that are growing increasingly resistant to those stronger antibiotics.”
“The rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria poses a growing danger to the health and safety of patients,” said Senator Collins. “By reducing the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture, our bipartisan legislation will help address one of the contributing factors to this problem.”
The Preventing Antibiotic Resistance Act requires:
- the Food and Drug Administration to withdraw approval for using medically-important antibiotics in agricultural, unless the drug manufacturer can demonstrate that its use does not pose a risk to human health.
- the Secretary of Health and Human Services to provide an updated list of medically-important antimicrobial drugs periodically, in order to keep current practice up to date with the latest medical data.
- the use of medically-important antimicrobial drugs in agriculture to be overseen by a veterinarian.
Congresswomen Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) will introduce similar legislation in the House of Representatives.