HomeWashington Letter2014 ▶ White House Announces a Series of New Initiatives to Combat Antibiotic Resistant Infections
White House Announces a Series of New Initiatives to Combat Antibiotic Resistant Infections

September 2014

Last week, the White House announced a series of new initiatives to combat antibiotic resistant infections and prioritize the issue as a key security and public health priority. The initiatives include:

  • Release of an Executive Order directing federal departments and agencies to take action to combat antibiotic resistance
  • The release of a National Strategy on Antibiotic Resistance
  • Release of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report on Combating Antibiotic Resistance
  • NIH and Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) cosponsorship of a $20 million prize for the first company, organization or institution to develop a rapid point of care diagnostic test to identify antibiotic infections. The announcement for the prize will be within the next 2 weeks.

The Executive Order directs federal departments and agencies to implement the National Strategy on antibiotic resistance and address the PCAST report. It also does the following:

  • Creates a new interagency Task Force for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria to be co-chaired by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Agriculture. The Task Force will develop an action plan to implement the national strategy by February 15, 2015.
  • Creates a new Presidential Advisory Council on Antibiotic Resistance, which will be comprised of non- governmental experts. The council will make recommendations to the President on federal programs and policies to preserve antibiotic effectiveness; strengthen surveillance of antibiotic-resistant infections; advance the development of new treatments and diagnostics for antibiotic resistant infections and improve coordination of international efforts to combat antibiotic resistance.
  • Directs the departments of HHS, Defense, and Veterans Affairs to review existing regulations governing antibiotic stewardship in hospitals and other inpatient healthcare delivery facilities and propose new regulations to improve antibiotic stewardship programs in accordance with the best practices, including those defined by CDC.
  • Designates U.S. representatives to engage with the WHO on development of a Global Action Plan for Antimicrobial Resistance

The National Strategy is a 5 year plan for addressing antibiotic resistant infections. The strategy lays out the following targeted goals for federal agencies to achieve by 2020:

  • Slow the emergence and spread of resistant bacteria
  • Strengthen national surveillance efforts
  • Advance the development and use of rapid diagnostics
  • Accelerating basic research into new antibiotics and vaccines
  • Improve international collaboration and capacities for prevention, surveillance, control and research and development

PCAST Report on Combating Antibiotic Resistance

The PCAST report issues the following steps that the government can take to combat antibiotic resistance in 3 targeted areas:

  • Improved surveillance of antibiotic-resistant bacteria
  • Increased longevity of current and new antibiotics by promoting appropriate use, preventing the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and scaling up proven interventions to decrease the rate at which microbes develop resistance.
  • Increasing the discovery and development of new antibiotics.

The PCAST report is available: HERE

Additionally, the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held a hearing on antibiotic resistance and legislation to create a limited population approval pathway for conditions with small patient populations. The FDA, Infectious Disease Society of America and Janssen Global Services testified. Adrian Thomas, M.D., spoke about the lengthy development and approval process for the multi-drug resistant tuberculosis drug, bedaquline. The ATS submitted a statement for the hearing record with a focus on antibiotic resistant pneumonia and drug resistant TB.

Last Reviewed: October 2017