The White House on Thursday issued an antibiotic resistance report, national plan of action and an Executive Order directing key Federal departments and agencies to take action to combat the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
In addition, the Administration announced a $20 million prize, co-sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, to facilitate the development of faster testing to identify highly resistant bacterial infections.
The White House says the actions are due to the rapid rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can present a serious threat to public health, national security, and the economy.
First, the National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria outlines goals and priorities to prevent the spread of resistant bacteria, develop new antibiotics and improve collaboration on the issue.
The President's executive order will ensure the strategy is carried out by appointing an interagency task force to implement the plan and also address recommendations in the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology antibiotic resistance report, also released Thursday.
The PCAST report includes several references to human and animal collaboration in preventing further antibiotic resistance, such as creating alternatives for animal antibiotics and improving stewardship of antibiotics in hospitals and long-term care facilities.
The President's action announcements, coupled with the $20 million prize, are intended to contain the spread of resistant bacterial strains while managing existing antibiotics.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has been working on projects also to curb misuse of antibiotics in hospitals and foster judicious use in food animals, supported the announcement.
In an official blog response, FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said the issue of resistance presents "unique and complex regulatory, scientific and policy challenges" and will require the assistance of all involved.
The animal antibiotic plan, which removes growth-promotion indications from animal antibiotic labels, has been supported by all pharmaceutical companies affected.
The National Pork Producers Council also supported the President's order, noting that it acknowledges that resistance is a complex issue with complex causes.
"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 Howard Hill. "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."