3 thoughts from former Sen. Bill Frist on combating antibiotic resistance

Bill Frist, MD, a former senator from Tennessee and a heart and lung transplant physician, penned an opinion piece for The Hill addressing antibiotic resistance and what the U.S. should do about the growing problem.

Below are three thoughts pulled from Sen. Frist's piece, titled, "Killing the superbug: A call for Congressional action."

1. "We cannot ignore this problem," Sen. Frist wrote, stressing that bacteria will continue to evolve and become resistant to antibiotics. Right now, drug-resistant bacteria kill 23,000 people each year, and that number could get larger. "Without intervention, we will see once-common and easily managed infections become lethal," he wrote.

2. The nation should address this issue from multiple angles. "We need a multi-pronged strategy to attack antibiotic resistance," he wrote. This means the nation needs to address the overuse of antibiotics — by both encouraging better antibiotic stewardship and tracking infections to identify resistance patterns in communities and therefore reduce the use of broad-spectrum drugs — and also developing new antibiotics that can kill bacteria that have grown resistant to current drugs.

3. He backs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's plan to reduce antibiotic resistance. The CDC's fiscal 2016 Antibiotic Resistance Solutions Initiative is "reasonable, well-conceived, and comprehensive," according to Sen. Frist. The plan is a $264 million initiative that would fully implement the CDC's parts of the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria and is a multifaceted approach to quelling the rise of antibiotic resistance. He calls the plan a "bargain," writing that "fully funding this initiative in the FY 2016 budget should be an easy decision for policymakers."

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