Letter to Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro Supporting “Helping Effective Antibiotics to Last” (HEAL) Act

February 12, 2015

Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro
2413 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Congresswoman DeLauro:

We are writing this letter to express our strong and enthusiastic support for the  “Helping Effective Antibiotics to Last” (HEAL) Act.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points out that two major actions are urgently needed to address the threat posed by antibiotic resistance are: 1) stop the misuse of existing antibiotics, and 2) develop effective new antibiotics.  HEAL is the first bill to focus on both these necessary actions.

HEAL is a great step forward to addressing antibiotic resistance because it respects the science that informs the causes of antibiotic resistance and puts patients first, not the drug companies.  Unfortunately, previous Congressional efforts to fight antibiotic resistance focused on pushing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve antibiotics more quickly, often relying on provisions that lower the standards of FDA approval.  That strategy actually can increase antibiotic resistance rather than reduce it: Because new antibiotics are often chemically similar to old antibiotics, bacteria that are resistant to the old antibiotics will be resistant to the new drugs, and vice versa.  In addition, any benefits of a new antibiotic will be quickly lost if it is used too widely for patients who don’t need it.  And since the risks of new antibiotics are not fully realized until years later, overuse of new antibiotics by patients who would get well from older drugs put those patients at risk of permanent harm and even death.

That’s why many members of the Patient, Consumer, and Public Health Coalition strongly support HEAL: the first and only antibiotics bill to put patients first in the effort to reduce antibiotic resistance at the same time it encourages pharmaceutical companies to develop safe and effective new antibiotics for the patients who urgently need them.

Sincerely,

American Medical Student Association
Breast Cancer Action
Center for Medical Consumers
Connecticut Center for Patient Safety
Consumers Union
Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health
Mothers Against Medical Error
National Center for Health Research
National Consumers League
Public Citizen
The TMJ Association
Center for Science and Democracy, Union of Concerned Scientists
WoodyMatters