Bipartisan Senate Bill Introduced to Combat Superbugs

an image of the Stars & StripesWASHINGTON — Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) today introduced the Preventing Antibiotic Resistance Act, a bipartisan bill that would eliminate certain antibiotic-related practices that contribute to the rise of drug-resistant bacteria and endanger human health. The legislation is co-sponsored by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jack Reed (D-RI), Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA).

CattleFeedlot-300Eight classes of antibiotics that are needed to treat sick people are also given to healthy food animals to spur growth and compensate for overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. The practice is so extensive that, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, drugmakers sold a record 29.9 million pounds of antibiotics for use in food animal production in 2011 — four times what was sold to treat human illness. The proposed legislation would restrict the usage of antibiotics in food animals unless they are sick.

“We commend Senators Feinstein, Collins, Gillibrand, Reed, Boxer and Cantwell for introducing the Preventing Antibiotic Resistance Act,” said Laura Rogers, director of the Pew Charitable Trusts’ initiative to reduce antibiotic overuse on industrial farms. “Their legislation is balanced yet comprehensive: It eliminates the use of medically important antibiotics for food production purposes but allows these drugs to be administered to sick animals and to keep them from infecting others. In addition, it does not change the way farmers can use those antibiotics that are not also important in human medicine.”

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