The House of Representatives late yesterday approved, by a vote of 271-140, an amendment by Representative Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) to earmark $5-million in next year’s budget for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to combat the threat to human health posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Brown’s amendment to the FY 2002 agriculture appropriations bill will give the FDA some of the funds it needs to implement its portion of the 13 Top Priority Items recommended last year by the Interagency Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance. Tamar Barlam, M.D., of the Center for Science in the Public Interest had the following statement:

     “These funds are an essential ingredient for attacking antibiotic resistance. We commend Representative Brown for his leadership. Data on antibiotic use, and developing and approving new antibiotics, are crucial in addressing the growing health crisis of antibiotic-resistant infections. The FDA has a pivotal role to play, and will now have the resources needed to do so.

     “The funds will enable the FDA to institute procedures to monitor antibiotic use in human medicine, agriculture, veterinary medicine and consumer products; refine its framework for approving new antibiotics for livestock; and expedite its approval of new antibiotics, vaccines, and other treatments for antibiotic-resistant infections.”