Leaders of 150 organizations have committed to changes or actions to prevent harm from antimicrobial-resistant pathogens.
The commitments, delivered in connection with June’s White House Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship, are from companies involved in delivery of clinical medicine, pharmaceutical manufacturing, agriculture, and retail; organizations representing human and veterinary medicine, including the AVMA; nonprofit advocacy organizations; and associations representing agriculture and meat industries.
“Private sector participation is essential to our Nation’s success in preventing, detecting, and responding to antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections and in preserving the efficacy of our existing antibiotics while enhancing the innovation and development of new antibiotics, therapeutics, diagnostics, and vaccines,” a White House announcement states.
Examples of the commitments include the following:
Foster Farms will limit antimicrobial treatments to use of drugs that are not considered important to human medicine and only in chickens with documented disease or disease control needs.
Elanco Animal Health will direct two-thirds of its food animal research budget toward diseases now treated by antimicrobial classes used in both humans and animals because few alternatives exist.
The National Turkey Federation will support collection of data on administration of antimicrobials to turkeys and will provide assessments of risks and benefits.
And the AVMA will conduct an educational campaign on therapeutic use of antimicrobials in animals and pending increases in veterinarian oversight of antimicrobial administration.
President Obama also signed a memorandum directing federal departments and agencies to create a preference system for meat and poultry produced with responsible antimicrobial use. The preference will affect food served in federal government cafeterias.
Dr. Ron DeHaven, AVMA CEO and an attendee at the forum, said those working in human and animal health were separated into two sessions for much of the meeting.
“I think the most fruitful territory would have been discussions between animal health and human health officials, looking for areas where we agree and exploring solutions for those areas where we don’t agree,” Dr. DeHaven said.
For example, he has gotten the impression many in human health think reducing or eliminating antimicrobial administration to food animals would eliminate antimicrobial resistance problems. But he said misuse and overuse in human medicine likely are responsible for as many of those resistance problems if not more. In addition, some he talked to in human medicine were unaware of pending changes in oversight and use of antimicrobials in animals.
“We’ve got some misperceptions based on lack of communication and understanding,” he said. “And separating the two groups at this meeting yesterday, we lost a really great opportunity to have that kind of dialogue.”