Updated: Nov 14, 2022
Concrete Targets, Measured Progress Are Needed to Kickstart Stalled Antibiotic Stewardship
David Wallinga, MD, Senior Health Officer, Food, Agriculture and Health, Healthy People & Thriving Communities Program, Natural Resources Defense Council
The Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (PACCARB) met in Washington, DC on September 12th and 13th, its first in-person meeting since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. HHS Secretary Becerra’s timely charge to the Council was for recommendations on how the US could and should improve its pandemic defenses.
Specifically, PACCARB was tasked with identifying any policy upgrades that would leave federal agencies better prepared for responding to, or even preventing altogether, a future pandemic caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria -- sometimes called ‘superbugs’. NRDC offered its own recommendations to PACCARB in advance of the meeting. First, PACCARB should urge Secretary Becerra to establish a concrete, national goal for 50% reduction in the use of medically important antibiotics in food-producing animals by 2025, relative to a 2010 baseline. Achieving this goal would deprive the spreading superbug threat of its most important fuel: antibiotic overuse.