ASM Applauds House Passage of Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act with PACCARB Provision
Washington, D.C. – September 25, 2018 – The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) congratulates the House for passing the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act (PAHPIA) which includes the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (PACCARB) provision. We are very pleased that this provision was not only included in the bill passed by the House Energy & Commerce Committee on July 18, but has also been incorporated in the bill posted by the House on Friday, September 21. PAHPIA’s mission is to ensure that the U.S. has a nimble, flexible, and fast-acting response to biothreats, and PACCARB is essential to the foundation of this duty.
“Combatting antibiotic resistance is a matter of national and global health security,” said Dr. Michele Swanson, ASM President, and Professor, Department of Microbiology & Immunology at University of Michigan Medical School. “It is critical that the United States continue to prepare for the threat of biological attacks. Natural disasters also trigger pandemics, which could be devastating if we lack effective antibiotics.”
PACCARB’s membership is made up of interdisciplinary experts from across scientific fields, including physicians, veterinarians, epidemiologists, microbiologists, and other health care professionals that are working with federal agencies to combat antimicrobial resistance.
“It is essential that we have at our disposal a safe and effective antibiotic arsenal that can be strategically deployed in the event of a natural or deliberate attack on our country. A robust emergency response is central to PACCARB’s mission and a key ASM priority,” said Stefano Bertuzzi, CEO, ASM. “We urge the Senate to adopt this provision when it takes up PAHPIA in the coming days.”
“Also integral to PACCARB’s mission are the One Health partnerships, which integrate human, animal, and environmental spheres. ASM is a strong proponent of the One Health approach to developing robust policies for antibiotic use,” said Swanson.
Both these issues are also top priorities for U.S. leadership. Last week, the White House affirmed the importance of addressing antimicrobial resistance and the principles behind the One Health partnership in its statement outlining their support for national biodefense.
ASM is thankful to the House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Walden, Ranking Member Pallone, Representatives Brooks and Eshoo, Senate HELP Committee Chairman Alexander, Ranking Member Murray, and Senators Burr and Casey for their ongoing leadership on the PAHPIA. ASM also urges the Senate to approve the bill with the PACCARB provision intact.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year at least two million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die as a direct result. Moreover, AMR infections result in an excess cost to our health care system of $20 billion per year.
With its 30,000 members in 161 countries, the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) is committed to working with global stakeholders to develop and execute a roadmap for surveillance and monitoring of antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance. ASM currently works across countries and sectors to establish, bring to scale, and sustainably maintain such systems by focusing on strengthened laboratory capacity and global health security programs in low resourced settings.