McDonald's, Wal-Mart push for more funding to fight superbugs

McDonald's, Wal-Mart push for more funding to fight superbugs

McDonald's, Wal-Mart, Tyson Foods and three other organizations are calling on Congress to give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) enough money to fight superbugs.

“We are deeply concerned that the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance (AR) puts many people at risk for serious and life threatening infections with few or no treatment options,” said a letter from the food companies, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Infectious Diseases Society of America and Bon Appétit Management Co.

It was sent to the heads of the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees with authority over the FDA, Sens. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranBottom Line Senate GOP raises concerns about White House stopgap plan to avoid shutdown Trade truce puts focus on next steps in US-China talks MORE (R-Kan.) and Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleySenate Democrat releasing book on Trump admin's treatment of migrants at border Sunday shows - Amash, immigration dominate Merkley on delaying endorsement: 'We have a different set of cards this time' MORE (D-Ore.), and Reps. Robert AderholtRobert Brown AderholtHouse advances B agriculture bill Dems advance bill defying Trump State Department cuts Maryland raises legal tobacco purchasing age to 21 MORE (R-Ala.) and Sam FarrSamuel (Sam) Sharon FarrMedical marijuana supporters hopeful about government funding bill Marijuana advocates to give away free joints on Capitol Hill DEA decision against reclassifying marijuana ignores public opinion MORE (D-Calif.)

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The letter calls for more funding in the 2016 budget to implement the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.

To combat these antibiotic-resistant superbugs, the organizations said additional funding is needed beyond the $3 million provided in the Senate bill for antimicrobial resistance in medical product safety at the FDA, and the $7.3 million provided in the House bill for antimicrobial resistance efforts by the Agriculture Department's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

The president’s fiscal 2016 budget request, they point out, requested $47 million for FDA and $77 million at USDA to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The letter comes a day before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the president’s nomination of Robert Califf as the next commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The Pew Charitable Trusts is hoping antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a topic of discussion during that hearing.

“We’ve got this situation where it’s an arms race between antibiotics and the resistance evolution,” said Elizabeth Jungman, the group’s director of public health. “We don’t have an adequate pipeline of drugs to fix them.”

While it does not take a position on nominees, Jungman said The Pew Charitable Trusts is hopeful that Califf will see a more feasible pathway for clinical trials as a critically important step in resolving this public health issue.