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USDA, CDC and FDA Outline Efforts to Ensure Judicious Use of Antimicrobials; Detail Efforts to Combat Resistance at Hill Hearing

Friday, July 16, 2010

(American Meat Institute)

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee this week stressed the importance of using anti microbial drugs judiciously and detailed current efforts underway to combat  antimicrobial  resistance.   Antimicrobial resistance is the result of microbes changing in ways that reduce or eliminate the effectiveness of drugs, chemicals, or other agents to cure or prevent infections.

"Addressing antimicrobial resistance is a challenging task which requires the expertise and efforts of many entities," said Joshua M Sharfstein, M.D., principal deputy commissioner ATFDA.

"FDA will continue to work with Federal, State, local, and foreign government officials, medical professionals including the veterinary community, the regulated industry and all of FDA's stakeholders, in developing sound strategies to address and advance both human and animal health.

In addition to addressing antimicrobial resistance with surveillance through the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS), Sharfstein noted that the FDA has released a draft guidance, "The Judicious Use of Medically Important Antimicrobial Drugs in Food-Producing Animals," which is intended to help minimize antimicrobial resistance by outlining several broad principles for assuring that medically important antimicrobial drugs are used judiciously in animal agriculture.

USDA Deputy Administrator for Veterinary Services John Clifford, DVM testified that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is playing an active role in preserving the effectiveness of medically important antibiotics; and in addition to ongoing research, it is committed to identifying opportunities to reduce usage and maintain the effectiveness of these drugs -- whether through the development of new treatment options for animals, such as vaccines, or through outreach and education to this country's agricultural producers so that they have better information on antibiotic use.

"USDA believes that decisions regarding the issue of antibiotic use must be science-based and is interested in providing the most current scientific information when it can, and collaborate with HHS' CDC, FDA, National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other Federal agencies on this important issue," Clifford said.

To view the written testimonies of these officials and others testifying at today's hearing go to http://energycommerce.house.gov/.

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