For Immediate Release
President’s Budget a Starting Point to Save Antibiotics
Illinois PIRG Statement on President Obama Proposed Budget
CHICAGO - President Obama’s budget proposes doubling the federal budget to combat antibiotic resistance. This is exciting, especially given that medical experts – from the World Health Organization to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – warn that antibiotics are rapidly losing their effectiveness, putting the health of millions at risk.
In addition to funding programs that will reduce the number of resistant infections that are contracted at hospitals, the budget increases funding for farmer education and research programs to reduce the use of antibiotics in agriculture. This increased funding will help tackle the overuse of antibiotics on animal farms, which scientists point to as a major reason for the spread of superbugs resistant to antibiotics.
This funding, however, should only be a starting point. In February, the Administration is due to issue a five-year plan to tackle the public health risk of antibiotic resistance. In order to fully confront the problem, the Administration should use this as an opportunity to issue a policy that requires farms to stop routinely administering these drugs to animals that are not sick. To date, our federal agencies have failed to issue such a requirement, asking only for voluntary action that will at best address only a small part of this overuse.
More than 10,000 medical professionals have signed a letter to President Obama asking for such action. It’s time for the President to heed this call and ensure that antibiotics are protected for generations to come.
Illinois PIRG conducts research and public education on behalf of consumers and the public interest. Our research, analysis, reports, and outreach serve as counterweights to the influence of powerful special interests that threaten our health, safety, or well-being. Find out more at www.illinoispirg.org