Senators Aim To Strengthen Antibiotic Data Availability

Gillibrand, Collins and Feinstein say public should be more aware of antimicrobial drug use in agriculture; aim to strengthen FDA accountability

Published on: May 10, 2013

U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, Thursday introduced bipartisan legislation to combat antimicrobial drug resistance by increasing transparency in data collection by the Food and Drug Administration.

Specifically, the legislation – Antimicrobial Data Collection Act – requires a pilot program to look into new data sources on antibiotics used on food producing animals. The senators said the FDA would be required to create a comprehensive data collection strategy, based on the new data sources, in order to increase data availability to the public.

Improved data availability would allow the public to access information about antimicrobial drugs used in agriculture, such as dosage form, strength and targeted animals.

Gillibrand, Collins and Feinstein say public should be more aware of antimicrobial drug use in agriculture; aim to strengthen FDA accountability
Gillibrand, Collins and Feinstein say public should be more aware of antimicrobial drug use in agriculture; aim to strengthen FDA accountability

Additionally, the Government Accountability office would then audit the FDA to determine if the data collection for antimicrobial resistance programs is effective in protecting public health.

The senators clarified that the bill would not create any new reporting requirements for drug companies, feed mills, or farmers, only requiring the FDA to provide more transparency in reporting the antimicrobial data which is already being collected.

"Antimicrobial resistance is a public health concern that needs to be adequately addressed," Gillibrand said.  "Increased data collection, transparency, and accountability are part of a comprehensive solution that will help protect American citizens from drug resistant microbes, saving lives and tax dollars."

The senators said according to the Centers for Disease Control, antimicrobial resistance costs taxpayers $20 billion in excessive healthcare each year and results in more severe illness and a greater risk of death for infected patients.

Legislation reintroduced earlier this year by Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., has a similar end goal in mind. Their bill, the Delivering Antimicrobial Transparency in Animals Act, would require drug manufacturers to obtain and provide better information to the Food and Drug Administration on how their antimicrobial drugs are used in the food-producing animals for which they are approved. 

The proposed Slaughter/Waxman bill would also alter the timing and quality of the data that FDA publicly releases and would require large-scale producers of poultry, swine, and livestock to submit data to FDA detailing the type and amount of antibiotics contained in the feed given to their animals.  The act also requires FDA to coordinate with USDA to improve the collection of data on the use of antimicrobial drugs in or on food producing animals.

Read more:

Animal Antibiotic Legislation Reintroduced
Antimicrobial White Paper Provides Overview For Consumers, Producers
Antibiotic Use Criticized In New Campaign
Debating Antibiotic Use In Livestock (commentary)