WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) reintroduced legislation to protect Ohioans from deadly “superbugs” by combatting antibiotic resistance. Brown’s bill, the Strategies to Address Antibiotic Resistance (STAAR) Act, would provide a multi-pronged strategy to help limit the growing impact of antibiotic resistance, improving the nation’s overall health and national security and lowering the costs associated with antimicrobial-resistance.
Misuse and overuse of antibiotics to fight disease have led to resistant bacteria and a growing shortage of effective antibiotic drugs. This affects more than two million Americans each year – with an estimated 23,000 dying as a result, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Brown is reintroducing legislation that would strengthen federal response to antibiotic resistance by increasing data collection and monitoring, prevention, control, and research efforts.
“Antibiotics do a world of good for Ohioans fighting infections and illness, but now antibiotics are becoming less effective, putting people at risk from dangerous infections that can’t be cured,” said Brown. “We should address this growing crisis head-on, both to stop the spread of deadly superbugs and to preserve antibiotics as a tool to fight disease.”
Drug-resistant infections – like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) – are affecting Ohioans at more than just hospitals and are also infecting healthy adults and children. If left unaddressed, antibiotic resistance could result in a generation of antibiotics that are virtually ineffective, seriously jeopardizing patient safety and public health.
According to The New York Times, “Overuse of the drugs in humans and livestock has caused germs to develop defenses to survive, rendering a growing number of medicines ineffective in treating a wide range of illnesses.” According to CDC, it is estimated that the total economic cost of antibiotic resistance to the U.S. economy is more than $20 billion a year in excess health care costs, with additional costs to society for lost productivity as high as $35 billion a year.
Specifically, Brown’s bill would:
- Reauthorize the Interagency Antimicrobial Resistance Task Force and codify sections of the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (CARB), to promote prevention and track antibiotic use and resistance.
- Enact key CDC recommendations to place greater emphasis on federal antimicrobial resistance surveillance, prevention, control, and research efforts.
- Authorize the use of grants to healthcare facilities to study the development and implementation of antimicrobial stewardship programs aimed at expanding efforts to encourage appropriate use of antibiotics.
- Allow the CDC to partner with state health departments to implement prevention collaboratives, and to expand public health partnerships through the CDC’s established Prevention Epi-Centers work.
- Require annual reports to Congress on implementation.