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Stop Antibiotics Use in Animal Feed!

ADUFA, PAMTA, and FDA Guidance #213

The Animal Drug User Fee Reauthorization Act of 2013 (ADUFA) requires that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports annually on how many antibiotics are sold for use on industrial farms. Thanks to ADUFA, we know that eighty percent of antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used for animal agriculture. Unfortunately, we do not know much else about these sales. ADUFA is currently up for reauthorization in Congress. However, on March 20, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee did not add new data-reporting requirements to ADUFA in its markup.

As health care professionals, we are disappointed that Senator Baldwin and the HELP committee did not add improved data collection requirements to ADUFA.

Antibiotic-use in animal agriculture is a risk to human health 

  • Eighty percent of antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used for animal agriculture. This equates to nearly 30 million pounds of antibiotics, annually. This number is growing, but we do not know why.
  • Most of these antibiotics are used for non-therapeutic purposes, in food animal production, and are available over-the-counter with no veterinary supervision.
  • Many of these antibiotics are also medically-important (like penicillin and macrolides), and used to treat illnesses in humans.
  • There is a growing body of research that links antibiotic-resistant infections in humans to antibiotic resistant bacteria in retail meat, and the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture.
  • Each year the almost 1 million antibiotic resistant infections that lead to $30 billion in additional healthcare costs and tens of thousands of deaths
  • The Centers for Disease Control says that antibiotic resistance is among its “top concerns.”

What the Senator can do

  • Support PAMTA (the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act), which Representative Slaughter (D-NY) reintroduced into the House on March 14 (as H.R.1150). Senator Feinstein (D-CA) is preparing to reintroduce PAMTA into the Senate.
  • Encourage the FDA to strengthen and finalize Guidance #213. This document is a draft document that proposes to the drug industry how to end antibiotic use for growth promotion and other non-therapeutic purposes in animal agriculture.
  • Encourage the FDA to publically report more data on antibiotics sales and use in animal agriculture given its existing authority.

PSR National Medical Student Representatives
Jasmine Wiley, (MS-3) University of Wisconsin-Madison (jwiley2@wisc.edu)
Kami Veltri, (MS-1) George Washington University (kamiveltri@gwu.edu)

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