The White House has revealed today its comprehensive plan to tackle antibiotic resistance within the next five years, according to a copy of the 60-page report, which was reviewed by Reuters.
The goals include reducing the rates of the most deadly “superbug” infections, investing in new diagnostic tools and antibiotic drugs, improving antibiotic use, and surveillance of prescribing practices in hospitals, according to the report.
The threat posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria is certainly serious. Repeated exposure to antibiotics has led bacteria to become resistant to drugs so that they can no longer treat a disease. The prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has affected drug development, as well, in which researchers must continuously anticipate a bacteria’s mutation—and the risk that a new antibiotic will no longer be effective.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), antibiotic-resistant infections are linked to 23,000 deaths and 2 million illnesses in the U.S. annually.
Under the plan, the CDC will aim to reduce rates of the most deadly, widespread infections—including reducing Clostridium difficile infections by 50 percent, reducing carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) infections by 60 percent and lowering Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bloodstream infections by at least 50 percent, reports Reuters.
Hospitals will also be required to implement programs to help reduce antibiotic use in patients. And doctors who work with government Medicare and Medicaid health plans will be required to report their prescribing patterns for antibiotics, especially when used to treat non-bacterial infections like common colds.
In an exclusive interview with Medscape, President Barack Obama talked about how his plan will address overprescribing. One way he hopes to do so is by providing real-time data about antibiotic resistance to doctors and hospitals nationwide to help them monitor local rates of drug resistance.
“Data is critical,” said President Obama. “We know that five out of six Americans are prescribed antibiotics each year. That adds up to 262 million antibiotic prescriptions annually…But we need to know more…If we can see where [antibiotics] are being prescribed, we can target our interventions where they’re needed most.”
In the Medscape interview, President Obama also said, “The federal government is making a long-term commitment to fighting drug resistance. That doesn’t just mean producing one batch of new antibiotics—it means creating a stronger drug pipeline, so American drug companies will keep producing new antibiotics well into the future. That’s key to staying ahead of drug resistance for the long run.”
Read the entire Medscape interview for more details.
Filed Under: Drug Discovery