BY HELENA BOTTEMILLER
AUG 17, 2012
Thirteen senators from both sides of the aisle wrote to U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg this week asking the agency to collect more data on antibiotics used in food animal production.
As FDA has noted before, the agency does not have detailed data about veterinary drug usage. Antibiotics sales are reported to FDA, but the agency does not collect any data on which species are treated and what percentage of the drugs are used for disease prevention, growth promotion or therapeutic treatment. Without this data, it’s nearly impossible to accurately track whether the industry is reducing its usage of medically important antibiotics — which scientists and public health advocates have long argued would help combat antibiotic resistance.
“This is of great concern to us, and we urge the agency to design a system with relevant agencies and stakeholders for gathering and analyzing necessary information to assess the effectiveness of the new policies,” read the letter, which was signed by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Susan Collins (R-ME). “Should you find any critical gaps in your statutory authority, we would welcome the opportunity to work with you to provide additional authorities and resources.”
…The letter was also signed by Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), John Kerry (D-MA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ron Wyden (D-OR).