Quick Note about Antibiotic Resistance and Animal Feed

The Union of Concerned Scientists is concerned again.  This
they are concerned the possibility that a fourth-generation
cephalosporin, href="http://www.intervet.co.uk/Products_Public/Cephaguard_Injection/090_Product_Datasheet.asp">cefquinome,
could be approved for use in animal feed.


It seems obvious that this could lead to more problems with antibiotic
resistance.  If bacteria are exposed to these antibiotics in
sublethal amounts, in animals, those bacteria probably would develop
resistance to the antibiotics.  If those same bacteria later
infection in humans, the infection could be difficult to treat.

The Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee of the US FDA met in
September 2006 to consider a proposal to permit addition of cefquinome
to animal feed.

Although the FDA site has href="http://www.fda.gov/cvm/VMAC/VMAC0906Sundlof.htm">notes
about the meeting, the site does not have any information about the
final conclusion, at least not yet.  

According to news reports, the FDA committee recommended that the
cefquinome not be permitted in animal feed.
 However, the manufacturer, href="http://www.intervet.com/">Intervet, has
announced that it will keep trying to get approval.  

The news release about the issue is href="http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=75595">here.
 The note from UCS about the issue is href="http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_environment/feed/feed-november-2006.html#1">here.
 More extensive information is at the site for the group, href="http://www.keepantibioticsworking.com/new/index.cfm"
rel="tag">Keep Antibiotics Working.  They
are worried that the FDA might succumb to industry pressure, and ignore
the recommendation of the committe.  It is possible, but I
could not find any specific indication that it is likely.  On
the other hand, the recent experience with Plan B indicates that the
FDA can no longer be relied upon to follow scientific
guidance.  I would just recommend that we keep tabs on this
and let the FDA know what we think, if the issue comes up again.

(I tried to be fair and balanced by going to Intervet's press release
on the subject, but href="http://www.anguselist.com/volume12/v12anguselist14.html">the
link is not working, at least not today.)

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Are these people total assholes or what? How could they even be considering something like this? I am so sick of these greedy pigs putting their own pocket books over everything else.

It is mind-boggling, to say the least. Although the antibiotic they are proposing in not one that is used in humans, it still is a member of a class that is used in humans, and it would be foolish to do anything to promote the development of resistant organsms.

The transcript of the meeting is now up on the Center for Veterinary Medicine webpage.

On page 211 of the transcript CVM Director Sundlof makes fairly clear that they are seeking to approve the drug.

"And so from the FDA standpoint, what we did was we said to the company after vetting it through the VMAC, that you will be judged -- the microbial safety of your product will be judged based on your ability to satisfy the requirements of Guidance for Industry #152.

And so just listening to the conversation, we may be presented with the dilemma that the companies did what they were asked to do, but the decision was still that it wasn�t safe. And then we were going to have to come back and say what is it that we can do in addition to demonstrate safety. And so, I think this is, although it has been a very, again, enlightening conversation, there is going to be some difficult decisions, I think, that may result as a result of that. "

So instead of accepting the finding that the drug is unsafe, FDA is going to find a way to show that the drug is safe.