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AMA: Antibiotic Resistance a Major Public Health Problem

AMA outlines multi-faceted approach to combat antibiotic resistance in testimony to Congress

For immediate release:
June 9, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Antibiotic resistance has been a major public health concern for many years and continues to grow. Due to improper use and abuse of antibiotics, strains of bacteria that infect the human body have become resistant to antibiotics. In testimony today to the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Health of the Energy and Commerce Committee, the American Medical Association (AMA) outlined a multi-faceted approach to help combat antibiotic resistance.

“Antibiotics are important drugs used to treat a variety of illnesses, and the problem of increasing antibiotic resistance is a public health concern that needs to be addressed,” said Sandra Fryhofer, M.D., a member of the AMA Council on Science and Public Health and an internist in Atlanta. “It is critical we manage the problem of resistance collaboratively across all health care professions and settings and consider all possible areas for intervention.”

The AMA proposes a multi-faceted approach to combating antibiotic resistance that includes:

  • Reducing the inappropriate use of existing antibiotics to preserve their effectiveness
  • Incentivizing research and development to create novel antibiotics for clinical use
  • Developing and implementing alternative interventions to reduce dependence on antibiotics

“While significant improvements in the judicious use of antibiotics have occurred, antibiotic resistance remains a major problem,” said Dr. Fryhofer. “Continued vigilance and education to maintain appropriate prescribing practices, proper use among patients and improved surveillance for emergence of resistance is necessary. The AMA commends the Subcommittee on Health for its focus on this important issue and remains committed to working to combat antibiotic resistance.”

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Lisa Lecas
American Medical Association

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