Brown Introduces Legislation to Combat Threat of Antibiotic Resistant ‘Superbugs’

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) hosted a news conference call today to discuss his legislation to protect Ohioans from antibiotic-resistant “superbugs.” Senator Brown reintroduced The Strategies to Address Antibiotic Resistance, or STAAR Act today, which would provide a multi-pronged strategy to limit the growing impact of antibiotic resistance. The legislation aims to protect Americans from potential health crises, while lowering the costs associated with treating antibiotic-resistant infections.

“We’ve seen over the past two years how critical it is that we prepare for possible health threats, and work to prevent or mitigate them before they become full-blown crises,” said Brown. “We have to be proactive if we want to prevent another public health crisis, and stop the spread of these superbugs before they erase many of the health gains we’ve made over the past century.”

Misuse and overuse of antibiotics promotes antibiotic resistance, and if left unaddressed, antibiotic resistance could result in a generation of antibiotics that are virtually ineffective. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), antibiotic resistance remains a significant public-health threat during the COVID-19 pandemic due to more patients needing longer hospital stays and medical staff shortages that have burdened hospitals, making it more difficult to screen for, monitor, and treat antibiotic-resistant germs.

Brown was joined on the call by Dr. Timothy Landers, PhD, CNP, CIC, FAAN, a nurse scientist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

“Antibiotic resistance is a looming public health crisis that threatens to set back medical advances by decades,” said Landers. “It will take a coordinated approach to diagnostics, treatment, and prevention in order to limit the impact of antibiotic resistance.”

Even before the pandemic, the CDC said about a third of all antibiotic prescriptions were unnecessary and each year at least 2.8 million Americans got an antibiotic-resistant infection, and more than 35,000 people died as a result. Brown’s legislation would strengthen the federal response to antibiotic resistance by increasing data collection and monitoring, prevention, control, and research efforts.

The legislation is also supported by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists and the American Society for Microbiology.

“As an organization that has the mission of promoting and advancing the microbial sciences, the American Society for Microbiology is pleased to support the STAAR Act, which takes a comprehensive, One Health approach to tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR),” said Dr. Stefano Bertuzzi, American Society for Microbiology’s Chief Executive Officer. “Microbes know no borders, and understanding and addressing the daunting threat of AMR worldwide is a top scientific, programmatic and policy priority for ASM. We look forward to working with Sen. Brown and Congress to address this complex, global problem that requires multi-faceted, inter-agency and cross-sector solutions that include research, surveillance, clinical medicine, and stewardship strategies.”  

Read the full text of the bill here and see a section by section summary of the bill here.