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U.S. Needs To More Directly Address Antibiotic Resistance

Noting recent warnings from the CDC and WHO about the increasing rate of antibiotic resistance, David Hoffman, a contributing editor at the Washington Post, writes in an opinion piece in the newspaper, “[M]y reporting for the documentary ‘Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria,’ which is to air Tuesday on PBS’s ‘Frontline,’ suggests that past warnings about antimicrobial resistance were largely discarded.” He adds, “We ought to snap out of our long complacency.” “I found smart people at the CDC, NIH, the Food and Drug Administration and elsewhere all working on the resistance crisis, … [b]ut politically, there is no active constituency — no patient groups marching in the streets,” he writes, adding, “President Obama ought to shake us out of this lethargy and appoint someone to tackle antimicrobial resistance across all fronts.”

“The goals are clear: far more detailed, national data reporting; improved stewardship of existing antibiotics; and a major antibiotic drug discovery and development effort,” Hoffman states. “This crisis will require truly broad collaboration, including scientists, clinicians, hospitals, regulators and the pharmaceutical industry,” he adds, concluding, “But government can light a spark and galvanize people toward a result that each could not achieve acting alone in the face of a real threat” (10/20).