Speeches & Testimony

Pew, Others Urge Increased Funding to Combat Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

On Nov. 16, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Infectious Diseases Society of America, Bon Appétit Management Company, McDonald’s USA LLC, Tyson Foods Inc.,  and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. submitted a letter to leaders of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate urging increased funding to support implementation of the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.

With passage of the Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2015 and with additional nondefense discretionary funding available, the letter urges increased funding to support specific antibiotic resistance efforts at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and FDA.

Download the full letter (PDF)

The Honorable Jerry Moran
Chairman
Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration,
and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Robert Aderholt
Chairman
Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration,
and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations 
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Jeff Merkley
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration,
and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Sam Farr
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration,
and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations Committee
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairmen Moran and Aderholt, and Ranking Members Merkley and Farr:

We, the undersigned organizations representing research and policy organizations, producers, purchasers, and infectious disease physicians and scientists, urge you to include funding in the FY 2016 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill to support the Administration’s implementation of National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and at the Department of Agriculture (USDA). We are deeply concerned that the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance (AR) puts many people at risk for serious and life threatening infections with few or no treatment options. Groups that are particularly vulnerable to this threat include people with comprised immune systems, including patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer or receiving organ transplants, the elderly, preterm babies, people living with HIV/AIDS, and others. Combating this threat will require increased and sustained federal investments in biomedical research and public health infrastructure. With passage of the Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2015 and additional non-defense discretionary funding available, we urge you to provide increased funding to support AR efforts at USDA and FDA.

The President’s FY 2016 Budget request included $47 million at FDA for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria. This funding would help efforts to phase out the use of medically important antimicrobials for growth promotion in food-producing animals, enhance systems for monitoring antimicrobial drug use in food-producing animals, evaluate new antibiotics for patient treatments, and streamline the development process for new antibiotics. While we appreciate the $3 million provided in the Senate mark for antimicrobial resistance in Medical Product Safety at FDA, additional funding is critical to assess and measure the impact of Guidance for Industry #213 and the Veterinary Feed Directive by developing a system for monitoring use through periodic collection of nationally-representative on-farm data use and resistance and implementing a Veterinary Feed Directive compliance program.

The President’s FY 2016 Budget request included $77 million at USDA for Antimicrobial Resistance. This funding would allow USDA to support research to enhance understanding of the development of antimicrobial resistance and the spread of resistance genes in animals and humans. Funding would also support expanded dissemination of science-based knowledge to veterinarians and producers, and use of voluntary surveys to measure antibiotic use in animal agriculture. While we appreciate the $7.3 million provided in the House bill for USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to support Antimicrobial Resistance efforts, we encourage you to provide additional funding in the final legislation for this effort. USDA has a plan for increasing its data collection in order to increase transparency of antibiotic use in animal agriculture, understand what antibiotics are being used for what purpose, evaluate the effectiveness of stewardship efforts, and assess associations between antibiotic use practices and resistance. With additional funding, this enhanced data will lead to more effective and targeted interventions which will help both the producers and consumers.

We strongly urge you to support the antimicrobial resistance line-items in both the FDA and USDA budgets. You can obtain additional information by contacting Lindsey Berman at The Pew Charitable Trusts at lberman@pewtrusts.org. We thank you for your leadership and working with us to prevent a post-antibiotic era where common infections prove fatal.

Sincerely,

The Pew Charitable Trusts
Tyson Foods, Inc.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Infectious Diseases Society of America
McDonald’s USA, LLC
Bon Appétit Management Company

CC:

The Honorable Thad Cochran
The Honorable Barbara Mikulski
The Honorable Hal Rogers
The Honorable Nita Lowey

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