Mike the Mad Biologist

In light of the policy mediocrity that is the Obama administration, it’s refreshing to read that the Obama administration is supporting the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA). Of course, it’s early days yet, so it would be par for the courseis quite possible that Obama’s support for this legislation will crumble.

I’ve discussed the bill in greater detail elsewhere, but here’s why this bill would greatly improve our antibiotic use policy:

  1. It covers all classes of antibiotics; there are no exempt classes of drugs.
  2. The definition of “non-therapeutic use” is very strict–it rules out prophylaxis (preventative use). Antibiotics can only be used to treat sick animals.
  3. Non-therapeutic use will be eliminated after two years for all drugs, unless manufacturers can show that non-therapeutic useful is not harmful. This is critical, particularly for off-patent drugs. Companies that make generics typically don’t have the profit margins to fight for non-therapeutic use. Since antibiotic resistance mechanisms are often genetically or biochemical linked, reducing the use of these generic drugs will remove a strong selection for more potent resistance genes.

This is a good bill. The Union of Concerned Scientists has a simple form that you can use to contact your elected officials. Now go support the bill

Comments

  1. #1 6EQUJ5
    July 15, 2009

    This will force farm animals to rely on natural defenses, which have only be tried for a few billion years. They’ll be just like wild animals, except for the free food, water, shelter, protection from predation, and veterinary care.

    When this was done in Europe, they noticed some animals faltered a bit, then got better, and did better without ‘prevention’.

  2. #2 Colleen
    July 15, 2009

    Thanks for the great summary. If this bill does manage to pass despite opposition from groups like the National Pork Association, could it be the death knell for factory farming?

  3. #3 Colleen
    July 15, 2009

    Thanks for the great summary. If this bill does manage to pass despite opposition from groups like the National Pork Association, could it be the death knell for factory farming?

  4. #4 Joshua
    July 15, 2009

    Colleen: I doubt it will end factory farming, although factory farms will have to change some of their methods. They’ll be less able to get away with shitty hygiene, for instance. So, in all, this is going to be much better both for people and livestock.

  5. #5 Paul Browne
    July 16, 2009

    This is a good bill, and long overdue. I certainly hope it passes.

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