Letter supporting Delivering Antimicrobial Transparency in Animals Act

Note: This letter was sent to Congressman Henry Waxman, sponsor of the bill, on behalf of members of the Patient, Consumer, and Public Health Coalition. A second version was sent to Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, co-sponsor of the bill.

April 2, 2013

The Honorable Henry A. Waxman, Ranking Member

Energy and Commerce Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
2204 Rayburn
Washington, DC  20515

Dear Ranking Member Waxman,

The Patient, Consumer, and Public Health Coalition strongly supports H.R. 820, the Delivering Antimicrobial Transparency in Animals (DATA) Act. Thank you for introducing this legislation, which would enhance the reporting requirements for antimicrobial drugs used in food animals.

The growing risk of drug-resistant bacteria infections will only be solved by responsible use of currently available therapeutics.  With approximately 80% of antibiotics sold in the United States being used in food animals, we need to better understand how antibiotic use in food animals is contributing to the increase in drug resistant microbes that affect both animals and humans.

The DATA Act would make it easier for public health officials to track how antibiotics administered to food animals contribute to the development of microbial resistance to specific drugs.  It would also provide much needed information for drug manufacturers, food-animal producers, and medical providers to design adequate strategies for responsibly using antibiotics.

H.R. 820 would standardize reporting of how antibiotics are used in food animals and require this information to be distributed in a timely manner.  The Act would foster interagency efforts at the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture in tackling the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. The FDA’s Draft Guidance 213 should help in reducing antibiotic use, and the DATA Act requires that the Final Guidance be published no later than six months after the enactment of the Act.

Reporting requirements in H.R. 820 would still permit poultry dealers, swine contractors, and feed lot operators to maintain healthy animals.  At the same time, your bill would help to ensure that antibiotics continue to be life-saving therapeutics for humans, companion animals, and all other animals.  We thank you for your leadership in addressing this growing public health problem.

Annie Appleseed Project

Connecticut Center for Patient Safety

Consumers Union

Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health

National Consumers League

National Physicians Alliance

National Research Center for Women & Families

National Women’s Health Network

U.S. PIRG

WoodyMatters

 

For more information, contact Jennifer Yttri at jy@center4research.org or Paul Brown at pb@center4research.org or (202) 223-4000.

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