President issues Executive Order to address antibiotic resistance

President issues Executive Order to address antibiotic resistance

Posted Sept. 19, 2014

President Obama yesterday issued an Executive Order outlining efforts to address the antibiotic resistance threat facing the public health system.

The Executive Order establishes a new interagency task force comprised of the departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services and Defense that will develop a national action plan to begin implementing PCAST’s recommendations by Feb. 15, 2015. The order also calls for development of a rapid diagnostic test to identify resistant infections in humans, for research focused on new antibiotic development and for development of alternatives to antibiotics such as vaccines and probiotics.

“In its executive order on combating antibiotic resistant bacteria, the White House acknowledged something that the National Pork Producers Council has been saying for years: More epidemiological research is needed to understand the key drivers of increased antibiotic resistance,” said NPPC President Dr. Howard Hill of Cambridge.

Accompanying yesterday’s announcement was the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report on combating antibiotic resistance.

The PCAST report supports the process now underway at the Food and Drug Administration to phase out the use of medically important antibiotics for food animal growth promotion purposes and to increase veterinary oversight of antibiotics used in agriculture. The report also recognizes the importance of antibiotics in producing safe, healthy food for Americans and the growing demand from the developing world.

“America’s pork producers, who abide by a strict antimicrobial stewardship program outlined in the industry’s Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus®) certification program, are committed to protecting public health and producing safe food,” Hill said. “They work hand-in-hand with veterinarians to minimize the need for and use of antibiotics, particularly antibiotics important in human medicine. And all antibiotics used in pork production are approved by FDA.”

Also this week, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing on “21st Century Cures: Examining Ways to Combat Antibiotic Resistance and Foster New Drug Development.” Witnesses testified on the need for greater investing in new antibiotics, preserving antibiotic effectiveness and monitoring how antibiotics are being used in the medical field among other things.

“NPPC is pleased that the administration agrees that more research is needed and looks forward to working further with FDA and USDA on determining the most informed and appropriate solutions for combating antibiotic resistant bacteria,” added Hill.