Pew Statement on Congressional Hearing Regarding Antibiotic Resistance and the Threat to Public Health

Contact: Linda Paris, 202.540.6354 or lparis@pewtrusts.org


Washington, DC - 04/28/2010 - Laura Rogers, project director of the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming, issued the following statement today, commenting on a hearing of the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health, where representatives of the Obama administration are expected to present testimony regarding the need to protect Americans from the growing problem of antibiotic resistance:

“We applaud Chairman Frank Pallone for convening today’s hearing on the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. We urge the subcommittee to focus on where and how improper use of antibiotics is occurring and what can be done to prevent this practice. With 70 percent of all antibiotics sold in the United States being given to healthy food animals, we trust that today’s hearing will address the role that industrial farming plays in this problem. 

“The Deputy Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, testified before Congress in July that routine use of antibiotics for growth promotion and feed efficiency should be phased out as part of a public health approach to address antibiotic resistance. Almost a year later, we are still waiting for FDA and other appropriate federal agencies to articulate concrete, effective actions to eliminate routine use of antibiotics in industrial farming.  

“We hope that today’s hearing will initiate more action from the U.S. government in response to the crisis of antibiotic resistance. As recommended by the American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the American Academy of Pediatrics and some 350 other organizations, Congress and the Administration should take steps immediately to phase out of the routine use of antibiotics in food animal production. It is imperative that Congress pass the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA, H.R. 1549, S. 619). This important legislation would withdraw the routine use of seven classes of antibiotics vitally important to human health from food animal production unless animals or herds are sick or unless drug companies can prove that their use does not harm human health.”

“It is time to take action to protect the health of the American people.”

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