White House to release plan to reduce antibiotic resistance

The White House has developed a plan to slow the growth of antibiotic resistance over the next five years, and it requires changes from hospitals, physicians and others across industries, according to a Reuters report.

The plan, due to be released Friday, includes the following goals:

  • Reducing rates of the most deadly antibiotic-resistant infections (like Clostridium difficile, carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) in five years
  • Putting money in new diagnostic tools and antibiotics
  • Implementing better prescribing practices in livestock and hospitals

Notably, the report would require acute-care hospitals to implement antibiotic stewardship programs. Additionally, Medicare and Medicaid physicians would need to report their antibiotic prescribing patterns.

Experts in the industry have lauded the plan. "Antimicrobial resistance is the most urgent threat facing modern medicine. While this is a multifaceted problem, creating and maintaining strong, effective antimicrobial stewardship programs across the healthcare continuum is essential," Sara Cosgrove, MD, vice president of the board of trustees of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, said in a statement. "This strategy will align the healthcare community on the best path to prolong the efficacy of antibiotics and meet the threat of new, resistant microbes."

Amanda Jezek, vice president for public policy and government relations with the Infectious Diseases Society of America, agreed, telling Reuters "We've never seen something this sweeping and comprehensive."

The report was put together by a task force led by the Obama administration's top health, agriculture and defense officials.

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