September 25, 2021

Senators Introduce Bipartisan Antimicrobial Data Collection Act

U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced legislation yesterday aimed at combating antimicrobial drug resistance. The Antimicrobial Data Collection Act calls for increased data collection by the FDA, enhanced transparency and public awareness of antimicrobial drug use in agriculture, and strengthened FDA accountability regarding unsafe antimicrobial drug use.

Bacteria on Petri DishThe CDC estimates that antimicrobial resistance costs taxpayers $20 billion every year in excessive healthcare. Resistance also results in more severe illnesses and a greater risk of death. There are at least six major human pathogens that are multidrug resistant.

Senator Gillibrand said, “antimicrobial resistance is a public health concern that needs to be adequately addressed. Increased data collection, transparency, and accountability are part of a comprehensive solution that will help protect American citizens from drug resistant microbes, saving lives and tax dollars.”

The bill would start a pilot program to examine new data sources on antibiotics used in food producing animals. A comprehensive data collection strategy would be created, based on the new data, to increase FDA’s transparency. The Government Accountability Office will audit the program to see if the data collection effectively protects public health

A study by Consumer Reports found antibiotic resistant bacteria on meat sold in supermarkets. The National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) also found increases in antibiotic resistant bacteria found on ground turkey and chicken. And a study published in EMBO Molecular Medicine found that there is a definitive link between antibiotic-resistant bacteria in livestock and human beings. In addition, research by the National Resources Defense Council found that antibiotic abuse in factory farms is increasing. The amount of antibiotics sold to the livestock industry in 2011 was four times the amount used in people.

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