US Administration takes steps to combat antibiotic resistance

Yesterday President Obama issued an Executive Order which begins, or restarts, the battle against antibiotic resistance. Given the widespread use of antibiotics not only for maintenance of human health but also as animal growth promotants and in household, commercial, industrial, and institutional products, the future of US initiatives should be of interest to a wide range of sectors in Canada and may point the direction of future Canadian initiatives.

The President’s Executive Order puts in place processes which could lead to new regulations and codes limiting the use of antibacterials. The time frames are quite short. In summary, the steps the US is taking in this important field include:

  • making combatting antibiotic-resistant bacteria a national security priority.
  • establishing an inter-agency Task Force to identify actions that will provide for the facilitation and monitoring of implementation of this order and the National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. By February 15, 2015, the Task Force shall submit a 5-year National Action Plan (Action Plan) to the President that outlines specific actions to be taken to implement the Strategy.
  • establishment of a Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria to provide advice, information, and recommendations regarding programs and policies intended to: preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics by optimizing their use; advance research to develop improved methods for combating antibiotic resistance and conducting antibiotic stewardship; strengthen surveillance of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections; prevent the transmission of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections; advance the development of rapid point-of-care and agricultural diagnostics; further research on new treatments for bacterial infections; develop alternatives to antibiotics for agricultural purposes; maximize the dissemination of up-to-date information on the appropriate and proper use of antibiotics to the general public and human and animal healthcare providers; and improve international coordination of efforts to combat antibiotic resistance.
  • new regulations will be recommended to require hospitals and other inpatient healthcare delivery facilities to implement robust antibiotic stewardship programs that adhere to best practices.
  • the US will engage in international action to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including the development of the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Action Plan for Antimicrobial Resistance.

The complete Executive Order is available at

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