The White House Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship convened Tuesday and over 150 companies and organizations have heeded the Obama Administration's call to aid in the fight against antibiotic resistance.

The forum builds upon the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria which was released in March. The national strategy operates based on core actions aimed at slowing down and preventing the spread of antibiotic resistance, advancing the development and use of diagnostic tests to identify resistant bacteria, accelerate research into new antibiotics and improve international capacities and collaboration efforts.

By gathering stakeholders, the forum aims to provide an avenue where the dangers of overusing antibiotics can be discussed and activities can be developed, promoted and implemented to encourage responsible antibiotic use.

In the event, more than 150 stakeholders from the food, retail and animal and human health industries conveyed their commitment towards implementing changes within the next five years to delay the emergency of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and to keep resistant infections from spreading. The Presidential Food Service joined in the effort by committing to serve only meals made with poultry and meats grown without antibiotics or hormones.

The participation of the private sector is crucial to the success of the effort to combat antibiotic resistance. Some of the key highlights from the formal commitments made by participating stakeholders include: improving prescription practices to reduce unnecessary health risks; providing clinicians with ample information to help them make the right prescriptions; disseminating information on proper antibiotic use to consumers; phasing out antibiotics used to promote growth in animals; investing in farm improvements; and employing best management practices.

What the forum has shown is that combating antibiotic resistance is requires effort not just from the government but the cooperation of various sectors. Some of the stakeholders that have pledged their support during the White House Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship include:

  • AARP
  • Actavis
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • AstraZeneca
  • Bell & Evans
  • BD Diagnostics
  • BioMerieux
  • Clorox Company
  • Costco
  • Cepheid
  • Elanco Animal Health
  • Farm Foundation
  • Foster Farms
  • Galderma Laboratories
  • McDonald's
  • Medscape/WebMD
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Nanosphere
  • National Association of Chain Drug Stores
  • National Milk Producers Federation
  • Panera Bread
  • Perdue
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Sanofi Pasteur
  • Society of Hospital Medicine
  • TridentUSA
  • Tyson Foods
  • Volunteer Hospital Association
  • Walmart
  • Zoetis

According to estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotic-resistant bacteria are responsible for two million illnesses in the country, resulting in around 23,000 deaths each year. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria stop responding to drugs designed to eliminate them, creating a need for stronger medication to address what used to be a simple infection.

Photo: Iqbal Osman | Flickr

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