Every 15 minutes, another person in the United States dies from a drug-resistant infection. It’s estimated that, by 2050, drug-resistant germs will kill up to 10 million people a year worldwide unless policymak
ers enact more effective policies. Continued overuse of antibiotics speeds up the growth and spread of drug-resistant bacteria that are responsible for these deaths.
Since 2017, NRDC, in cooperation with One Health Trust (formerly the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy), has worked to fill in data gaps, enabling the comparison on an apples-to-apples basis of the levels of use of medically important antibiotics in both human medicine and in food-producing animals, which we collectively refer to as “livestock.” Our latest analysis incorporates data from 2020, the most recent year for which both human and animal data are available; the work helps keep the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA)—which regulates animal antibiotics—more accountable. Federal law requires the FDA to make s
ure that farm antibiotic use is safe not only for animals but for people; that means the FDA should be tracking where those antibiotics are used routinely or excessively (aka “overuse”), since overuse fuels the already grave public health crisis posed by antibiotic resistance. An accompanying NRDC blog shows that the FDA could—but does not—do this tracking. Read more.