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May 2009
Vol. 19 No. 5
Policy and Advocacy
IDSA Tackles Antimicrobial Resistance, Pandemic Flu, Other ID Priorities

IDSA is strongly backing legislation that would tackle the problem of antimicrobial resistance. Earlier this month, Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) reintroduced the Strategies to Address Antimicrobial Resistance (STAAR) Act, which IDSA leaders played a significant role in drafting.  The STAAR Act provides important solutions to contain the spread of antimicrobial-resistant "bad bugs" through better overall coordination and funding of federal activities. The bill would strengthen federal antimicrobial resistance surveillance, prevention and control, and research efforts, as well as enhance the collection of critical information on the use of antibiotics in humans and animals. If enacted, it would ensure that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the flexibility to collect comparable and reliable data on antimicrobial sales and distribution, similar to what currently is employed in many European nations. IDSA has secured the endorsement of 25 organizations thus far and has created a webpage dedicated to the STAAR Act.

The Society also has weighed in on health care reform, pandemic influenza, and other important issues, including:

  • IDSA responded by letter to the Senate Finance Committee’s proposals for health care reform. IDSA supports strengthening public health infrastructure and personnel needs, and appropriately incentivizing specialists such as ID physicians who play an important role in controlling outbreaks and epidemics and preventing health care-associated infections. The HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) also submitted a statement to the Senate Finance Committee highlighting the model programs that many HIV clinics have developed for providing comprehensive, well-coordinated care and urged policymakers to integrate support for these programs into the reformed health care system.
  • IDSA endorsed a bill introduced by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) to strengthen the federal government's monitoring and reporting of infectious diseases—most recently the H1N1 influenza outbreak. 
  • IDSA joined with the Working Group on Pandemic Influenza Preparedness in urging Congress to procure emergency funding for pandemic influenza planning and response. Both the House and Senate approved additional monies:$1.85 billion in the House and $1.5 billion in the Senate
  • IDSA submitted testimony to Congress on FY 2010 funding for federal infectious diseases programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), FDA, and other agencies.  IDSA supports more funding for pandemic flu preparedness, including development of an H1N1 virus vaccine and replenishing and building the national stockpile of antivirals, masks, and other medical equipment. Other priorities include antimicrobial resistance, emerging infectious diseases, immunization of children, adolescents and adults, tuberculosis control, and HIV prevention. HIVMA also submitted testimony highlighting the vital need for increases in federal support for HIV prevention at CDC, HIV treatment through Ryan White, and HIV research activities through NIH after several years of near flat or decreased funding for these programs.

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