The Partnership to Fight Infectious Disease (PFID) is encouraged by the growing acknowledgement among policymakers that addressing the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) must be a top priority of the U.S. Congress, particularly as it considers legislative solutions to prepare for the next pandemic. The steps Congress is taking toward this goal are important milestones to note as we mark Antibiotic Awareness Week – November 18 through 24.
1. The most recent example came just last week from the Senate Appropriations Committee in its release of Fiscal Year 2021 funding measures, which included provisions encouraging the Administration to focus on issues related to antimicrobial and antibiotic resistance as part of public health emergency preparedness efforts.
Last month Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Todd Young (R-IN) introduced the Pioneering Antimicrobial Subscriptions to End Upsurging Resistance (PASTEUR) Act.
Staff from the offices of Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO), Drew Ferguson (R-GA), Mike Levin (D-CA), and Fred Upton (R-MI) joined a PFID-hosted discussion with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and CARB-X on combatting the public health threat of AMR. The CDC also discussed its National Action Plan on Antibiotic Resistance, which was released the following day.
This summer the House Ways and Means Republicans released the “Faster Cures Through Innovation Agenda,” with a focus on investing in treatments to fight infectious diseases.
Additionally, Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) are leading on the Developing an Innovative Strategy for Antimicrobial Resistant Microorganisms (DISARM) Act.
All of these measures are evidence that Congress recognizes the serious threat AMR represents and the thoughtful policy solutions, stakeholder, including patient advocate, support, and Congressional leadership required to solve it.
The American people agree. Recent polling found that, when presented with some background on AMR, 85% of respondents said they were very or somewhat concerned about AMR and 76% believe that the development of new antibiotics should be a top or high priority.
COVID-19 has only further bolstered that support - 87% of respondents agreed (50% strongly agreed) that, especially now with the pandemic, it is even more urgent to invest in the research needed to combat infectious diseases, including research into new antibiotics. The American people are correct. Antibiotics have long underpinned modern medicine, helping stave off infections and mitigate risk, making many routine procedures possible. Effective treatments to fight life-threatening infections are essential in addressing the health threats associated with pandemics like COVID-19.
These figures are remarkable and should bolster Congress’ commitment not just to fighting AMR, but to its work exploring how we as a country must prepare for the next pandemic.
PFID stands ready to support efforts to address AMR, and we urge other organizations to do the same. For more information on how to get involved, please contact Candace DeMatteis at firstname.lastname@example.org.