One of the last events in Congress prior to lawmakers leaving for an election period recess break is a Friday morning House Energy and Commerce subcommittee meeting on the impact of the widespread use of antibiotics, featuring testimony from FDA drug development chief Janet Woodcock. The liberal use of antibiotics in humans reportedly is causing bacteria to develop resistance to current antibiotic drugs and the House panel will mull efforts to spur development of new drugs. Meanwhile, the White House this afternoon will announce new executive actions to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Separately, New York Democratic Rep. Louise M. Slaughter is pressing for the committee to also focus on health impact of animal antibiotic use and notes that antibiotic use in animals also contributes to increasing human antibiotic resistance. Slaughter, who is spearheading a drive for legislation to force the Food and Drug Administration to monitor the issue, cites a recent Reuters report on agricultural uses of the drugs. Earlier this month, Perdue Farms, a giant poultry processor, announced that it has eliminated the use of antibiotics from its chicken hatcheries.