22nd June 2006, WASHINGTON: This week, the Infectious Diseases Society of America (ISDA), an organization representing 8,000 infectious disease physicians and scientists, announced it is endorsing the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA), which is sponsored by Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Representative Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
The legislation would withdraw FDA approval for feed-additive use of seven specific antibiotics classes: penicillins, tetracyclines, macrolides, lincosamides, streptogramins, aminoglycosides, and sulfonamides. To make that happen, the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act would be amended, unless FDA finds the use of a particular class is safe based on current scientific understanding. Each of these classes contains antibiotics also used in human medicine.
According to IDSA, the additives "are used to promote slightly faster growth and to compensate for stressful, crowded conditions at intensive livestock and poultry facilities," rather than being used to treat sick animals. The organization says it hopes the legislation will help preserve the effectiveness of these drugs in human medicine.
"Physicians, nurses and now infectious disease professionals are all calling for federal laws to curb the needless use of antibiotics in animals raised for food because it appears to threaten how well we will be able to treat our human patients with antibiotics," said David Wallinga, M.D., a physician with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.
The American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Geriatrics Society, the American Public Health Association, the National Association of County and City Health Officials, the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture, and other organizations have also called for an end to the routine use of medically important antibiotics as feed additives.
"There is growing concern among infectious diseases professionals that antimicrobial agents' effectiveness in treating life-threatening infections is becoming compromised by increasing bacterial resistance to these therapies," said Martin Blaser, M.D., the president of IDSA.