Getting Serious About New Antibiotics and Rational Use: Introduction to the Issue
Kathleen T. Young
Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics
The dwindling supply of new antibiotics has become more critical as we face more hyper-virulent, multidrug-resistant infections in both community and healthcare settings. This issue of the APUA Clinical Newsletter focuses on promising U.S. policy initiatives to promote antibiotic development and to encourage more rational antibiotic use.
In this edition, APUA staff and experts from industry, the nonprofit sector, and academia review the current legislative landscape. We report on the new FDA guidances to minimize antibiotic misuse in food animal production. While some public health advocates consider the FDA action not strong enough, others consider these as bold regulatory steps. We review the draft of the GAIN Act currently before Congress, which provides regulatory incentives to keep drug companies in the antibiotic business but lacks effective incentives for antibiotic stewardship to help extend their useful life. The need for appropriate antibiotic use in human medicine and food animal production must be considered in tandem with promotion of novel antibiotics to ensure that as new antibiotics come on board, they are used appropriately and remain effective as long as possible. Vaccine development is reviewed here as a key preventive strategy to minimize the need for antibiotics. Improved diagnostics and antibiotic resistance surveillance, which are necessary to facilitate more targeted treatment, have been covered in previous issues (see Vol.29 No.2, “Diagnostic Innovation to Contain Resistance,” and Vol.29 No.1, “Antibiotic Stewardship Gaining Traction”).
By implementing a multi-pronged strategy we will emerge out of the antibiotic crisis today and forestall future epidemics of resistant infections. Having been on the front lines of advocacy on these issues for over 30 years, APUA is pleased to be actively supporting current policy initiatives described in this issue, including the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act, the new FDA guidances, IDSA’s 10x’20 and Limited Population Antibiotic Drug initiatives, the GAIN Act, and others. APUA also played a key role in crafting the new WHO strategy to control antibiotic resistance.
With all these actions as a framework, APUA will continue to work with its global chapter network and all stakeholders to support meaningful action now. We count on the U.S. to take the lead in combating this global crisis by enacting model regulations and payment structures to ensure antibiotic access and affordability for all populations in need for generations to come.
APUA President Dr. Stuart Levy Honored with 2012 Abbott-ASM Lifetime Achievement Award
Congratulations to Dr. Stuart Levy on his selection as the 2012 Abbott-ASM Lifetime Achievement Award Laureate! The award is the highest recognition by the American Society for Microbiology for sustained contributions to the microbiological sciences. The ASM acknowledged Dr. Levy’s co-founding of APUA in 1981, and his tireless efforts through the organization for the past 30 years.
Dr. Hiroshi Nikaido (University of California, Berkeley) nominated Dr. Levy for “not only elucidating the genetics and biochemistry of one of the most important mechanisms for drug resistance, but also striv[ing] to minimize the selection and spreading of resistant bacteria.”
Longtime colleague Dr. Steve Lerner (Wayne State University) also lauds Dr. Levy for “bringing his studies and their implications beyond the laboratory to influence directions in infectious disease research and public health policy worldwide.” Dr. Levy’s pioneering work in fighting antibiotic resistance not only through basic science, but also through industry and government initiatives, inspires all of us who strive to make a difference in public health. Read more about the award on the ASM website.
Return to front page of the APUA Clinical Newsletter Vol. 30 No. 1