AMA News Room
Nov. 16, 2015
AMA Continues Efforts to Combat Antibiotic Resistance
For immediate release:
Nov. 16, 2015
ATLANTA – With growing concerns over the global public health threat posed by antibiotic resistance, the American Medical Association (AMA) today adopted policy during its Interim meeting to help combat the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria in all health care facilities. The new policy encourages improved surveillance of antimicrobial resistance, supports implementation of antibiotic stewardship programs across the spectrum of care and renews existing support for incentivizing antibiotic development.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 2 million people in the U.S. acquire serious bacterial infections that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections.
"We are currently faced with not only a decline in the effectiveness of available antibiotics, but also a decline in the development of new antibiotics," said AMA Board Member William E. Kobler, M.D. "That's why it is extremely important that we continue to take steps to ensure the appropriate use of antibiotics across all health care settings. It will take a coordinated, multi-sector, and multi-pronged approach to address this public health epidemic."
Policy adopted today supports adequate funding for public health and veterinary health agencies to improve surveillance of antimicrobial resistance and antibiotic use, which aligns with the administration's National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria. According to a report by the AMA's Council on Science and Public Health, improved surveillance will help identify where antibiotic resistant infections originate and how resistant bacteria are being transmitted.
The AMA has long supported efforts to prevent the spread of drug-resistant organisms in health care facilities and communities. Specifically, the AMA has adopted numerous policies and advocated for legislation over the years supporting efforts to address antibiotic resistance, including reducing barriers to antibiotic development through incentives. Because antibiotics are important in the treatment of human infections, existing AMA policy also calls for continued education on appropriate antibiotic use as well as bringing an end to the practice of using medically-important antibiotics for growth promotion in animals.
During the meeting, the AMA also held an educational session for physicians to share the latest tools available for improving antibiotic stewardship in the inpatient and outpatient settings and discuss ways to help providers alleviate uncertainty when prescribing antibiotics. The session was held in partnership with the CDC as part of its annual Get Smart Week campaign to promote antibiotic stewardship.
The AMA will continue to work together with the federal government, policymakers and other stakeholders on ways to address antibiotic resistance and protect public health.
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