Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-28), the only microbiologist in Congress, today continued her call for greater FDA focus on preserving antibiotics for human health use. Slaughter’s comments come in reaction to an announcement from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that it will be forming the Antibacterial Drug Development Task Force, an internal task force to support the development of new antibacterial drugs. The newly devised FDA task force fails to address the use of current antibiotics and the impact that overuse and misuse has on their ongoing effectiveness in the treatment of new and existing illnesses.
“While this is an important step, the objectives of this task force fall short of the vital public health need to prevent the emergence of antibiotic-resistant superbugs by preserving antibiotics for human health, said Slaughter. “The overuse of antibiotics in livestock production continues to be overlooked by the FDA. By failing to address the root cause of antibiotic resistance, the FDA is ensuring that any innovation will be short-lived in the face of an evolving threat to public health. I have introduced legislation that accomplishes this goal and I will continue to fight for its passage in the House.”
Slaughter is the author of H.R. 965, The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA), which is designed to end the routine use of antibiotics on healthy animals and curb the growing threat of superbugs. Reintroduced in March of 2011, PAMTA would preserve the effectiveness of medically important antibiotics by phasing out the use of these drugs in healthy food-producing animals, while allowing their use for the treatment of sick animals. The legislation also requires the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to apply the same tough standards to new applications for approval of animal antibiotics.