Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Cosponsors Bill to Combat Antibiotic-Resistant Diseases

December 13, 2013
Press Release

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today cosponsored legislation designed to stop the overuse of antibiotics on livestock, a practice that is accelerating the growth of antibiotic-resistant diseases among humans. The bill, called the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA; H.R. 1150), aims to preserve the effectiveness of medically important antibiotics. It requires the government to not approve a new animal drug if it reduces the effectiveness of human antibiotics and drugs.

“I am deeply concerned about the overuse of antibiotics in the livestock industry because it has weakened the effectiveness of drugs important to combat dangerous microorganisms,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. “This is very troubling as the health of all Americans could be compromised should they become ill from bacteria only to discover it is resistant to antibiotics.

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ‘voluntary’ plan announced this week to phase out antibiotic use in farm animals falls too short in protecting consumers. The FDA’s ‘voluntary guidance’ does not actually require drug manufactures to do anything, and does not adequately address the public health concern at hand.” 

In an FDA report released in April 2013, antibiotic-resistant bacteria has been found in more than 50 percent of turkey, pork chops, and ground beef tested.  FDA’s voluntary program only addresses some of the problematic uses.  For example, it only asks animal pharmaceutical companies not to promote over-the-counter antibiotics and instead, move to a system requiring veterinary oversight.  As the livestock industry accounts for about 80 percent of their sales, animal drug manufacturers might be reluctant to reduce its market share.

PAMTA is supported by 450 organizations, including public health organizations, scientists, the World Health Organization, American Medical Association, National Academy of Sciences and small farmers across the United States.

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