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IDSA Applauds President Obama, Calls for Action on State of the Union Pledge to Address Drug Resistance

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Statement from IDSA President Barbara Murray, MD, FIDSA

In his State of the Union address last night, President Obama acknowledged the need for innovation to address drug-resistant bacteria. The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) is pleased by the President’s commitment to addressing this crisis and is calling for him to follow through in order to avoid a return to the pre-antibiotic era.

For years, IDSA has sounded the alarm about the public health crisis of resistance that is sickening and killing increasing numbers of patients and costing our healthcare system billions of dollars. Vaccines are key to preventing many diseases, but when it comes to drug-resistant infections, we need a multi-pronged approach that includes vaccines as well as new antibiotics, diagnostics and other public health interventions. Last October, IDSA specifically called upon the President to lead a strong federal response to combat resistance and develop life-saving new antibiotics and diagnostics (PDF). IDSA now urges the President to act on the pledge he made in his speech by taking the following steps:

  • Designate an Office and Director within the Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH) or the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) to lead the Interagency Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance (ITFAR) and coordinate the Federal response.  This enhanced leadership would bring to the ITFAR new energy and a broad vision, and help to facilitate better coordination, including a stronger ongoing dialogue with nongovernment experts.
  • Establish a public private collaboration (PPC) to bring together government leaders, academia, industry and other experts to share information and devise unique solutions to overcome barriers to antibiotic research and development (R&D). The European Union has launched the successful New Drugs for Bad Bugs PPC as part of its Innovative Medicine’s Initiative (IMI). The US needs a complementary effort, or we risk being left behind in this critical area of innovation. 
  • Invest in the development of new diagnostic tests and encourage their use in patient care and public health. Diagnostics are crucial to guide appropriate antibiotic use, a necessary component of efforts to limit the development of drug resistance.
  • Work with Congress to enact the following legislative proposals:
    • The Antibiotic Development to Advance Patient Treatment (ADAPT) Act (PDF), which would speed patient access to desperately needed new antibiotics to treat serious or life-threatening infections by allowing them to be approved for a limited population based upon smaller, faster clinical trials.
    • The Strategies to Address Antimicrobial Resistance (STAAR) Act (PDF), which would promote prevention, improve surveillance and data collection of resistant infections and antibiotic use, strengthen antibiotic stewardship efforts and enhance federal leadership and accountability.
    • Targeted tax credits to overcome the economic barriers associated with antibiotic and diagnostic R&D.

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