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June 2015
Big Advances in Antibiotic Stewardship and R&D Policies

White House Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship

Federal officials announced a number of new policies and plans to promote antimicrobial stewardship at the first-ever White House Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship on June 2. IDSA was on hand to make the case for the role of ID specialists in stewardship programs, and to emphasize the need for new diagnostics and new drug development. The Society made a series of commitments to lead advocacy efforts in support of stewardship.
IDSA President Stephen Calderwood, MD, FIDSA, and IDSA staff represented the Society at the forum, which featured Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and representatives from about 150 stakeholders from both the human health and agricultural settings. In her opening remarks, Secretary Burwell quoted IDSA Antimicrobial Resistance Committee member Brad Spellberg, MD, FIDSA, remarking on the importance of stewardship, and highlighted the story of Addie Rerecich, a young patient who suffered from a multidrug resistant infection and whose family has worked with IDSA to raise awareness about the issue.

Federal officials at the forum discussed upcoming policies to provide preference in federal purchasing for meat produced using responsible antibiotic use, to provide regulations for the establishment of stewardship programs in hospitals and long-term care (LTC) facilities, to increase the number of facilities reporting antibiotic use and resistance data through CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN), to improve data collection regarding antibiotic use in agricultural settings, and to stimulate the development of new rapid diagnostics.  

For the bulk of the meeting, participants were split into breakout sessions on human and agricultural topics related to stewardship. IDSA participants were assigned to sessions that focused on inpatient stewardship, outpatient stewardship, stewardship in LTC facilities, and tools needed for stewardship. Dr. Calderwood spoke on the final panel and highlighted ID physicians as critical leaders of stewardship programs and also discussed the need to stimulate the research, development and appropriate use of rapid diagnostics. Lastly, he noted that while stewardship is critical, we will continue to need new antibiotics.

House Committee Passes Bill on Antibiotic Incentives and More

The House Energy and Commerce Committee voted unanimously last month to advance the 21st Century Cures Act, H.R. 6.  As previously reported, this bill contains several key IDSA priorities, including the limited population antibacterial drug (LPAD) approval pathway, funding increases for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and quicker Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review of diagnostic tests and other medical devices that do not have sufficient alternatives.  The bill is expected to be approved by the full House of Representatives this year, possibly as early as this month.  

In response to IDSA action alerts, IDSA members have sent thousands of emails to their members of Congress in support of LPAD, increased NIH funding, and diagnostics incentives. This input from expert constituents—IDSA members in the individual states and districts of members of Congress—has been instrumental in advancing these policies in Congress.

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