Statement of CSPI president Dr. Peter G. Lurie
Unless we take dramatic action to reduce the reckless overuse of antimicrobial drugs, particularly in animal agriculture, we risk a return to a dark, pre-antibiotics era where simple infections become life-threatening conditions. The ambitious strategy announced today by Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb builds on previous FDA actions and would help put us on track to preserve the effectiveness of these vital drugs.
Importantly, the FDA has pledged to set evidence-based limits on the duration for which these drugs are used in animals. The agency must be held to its commitment to finalize the setting of these limits by 2023. The FDA has also made a key commitment to bring all animal antibiotics under veterinary oversight and to implement a strategy to promote antimicrobial stewardship in companion animals. These critical steps forward cannot be delayed: there simply is no time to waste.
FDA could improve its strategy by providing concrete metrics for each of the goals it has identified. As these and other changes take effect, it will be important for Americans to have a clear means to assess whether the FDA’s efforts will have been successful in reducing inappropriate antibiotics use in animals and, ultimately, in reducing antibiotic resistance itself.
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