Cross-Sector Coalition Calls for Significantly Increased Investments to Combat AMR
A coalition of organizations representing clinicians, scientists, patients, public health professionals and animal agriculture experts as well as members of the pharmaceutical and diagnostics industries are asking congressional leaders to significantly increase U.S. investments to combat the growing threat of infections resistant to existing antibiotics, and build arsenals of new infection-fighting drugs.
More than 50 organizations signed on to letters to House and Senate chairs and ranking members of subcommittees that set funding for the Departments of Health and Human Services, Agriculture, State and Defense, describing the toll of antimicrobial resistance. At least 35,000 lives in the United States and 700,000 lives globally are lost each year to infections that can’t be treated with available medicines. Drug-resistant infections, which sicken at least 28 million people in the U.S. each year, add at least $20 billion to American health care costs, the letters note, and as much as $1.2 billion globally. Modern medical advances that include cancer chemotherapy, transplantation, cesarian sections and other surgeries rely upon the availability of safe and effective antibiotics.
The COVID-19 pandemic, leading to high levels of antibiotic use as well as increased exposure to resistant infections among hospitalized patients severely ill from the coronavirus, also has highlighted the critical importance of controlling antibiotic resistance and developing new antibiotics to be better prepared for future health threats.
Current federal funding levels are insufficient to support efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance through stewardship of existing drugs, strengthened surveillance, improved global monitoring capacities, new drug development and infectious diseases research, the letters say. The letters also call for increased funding to support antibiotic stewardship and antimicrobial resistance surveillance in agricultural settings.
Without greatly increased investments in all of these areas, the letters say, antibiotic resistant infections will be the leading cause of death by 2050, at a global economic impact of $100 trillion.