Antibiotics are fundamental to modern medicine, essential for treating everything from routine skin infections to strep throat, and for protecting vulnerable patients receiving chemotherapy or being treated in intensive care units. But the proliferation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria—a result of decades of overuse in animal agriculture and human medicine combined with a lack of new drug development and innovation—has placed humanity on the precipice of what public health leaders call a “post-antibiotic” world in which even the most simple surgical procedure could have deadly consequences.
Although antibiotic resistance is not a new problem, its scope now constitutes a major threat to human health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 2 million Americans fall sick every year with antibiotic-resistant infections—and 23,000 die.
Medical and public health experts agree that addressing antibiotic resistance requires measures that will ensure both the prudent use of existing drugs and a robust pipeline of new drugs. Pew's antibiotic resistance project supports policies that would:
- Spur the creation of new antibiotics by removing the regulatory, economic, and scientific obstacles that impede antibiotic discovery and development.
- Establish stewardship programs to ensure that antibiotics are prescribed only when necessary in human health care settings.
- End the overuse of antibiotics in food animals.
The Pew Charitable Trusts submitted comments to the Food and Drug Administration in August 2015 in support of the agency’s proposal to expand the collection and reporting of data pertaining to antibiotics sold for use in food animal production. This expanded data would include estimates on sales by species of animal. Read More
The Pew Charitable Trusts and its partner, School Food FOCUS, worked together to develop the Certified Responsible Antibiotic Use (CRAU) designation for responsible antibiotic use in the production of poultry sold to schools, hospitals, and other institutions. By reducing the amount of antibiotics given to chickens, CRAU can help slow the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria in food animal... Read More