White House creates new national strategy on antibiotics

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Assisted living residents with dementia receiving too many antipsychotics, GAO says
Assisted living residents with dementia receiving too many antipsychotics, GAO says

The Obama administration has unveiled a national strategy to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It includes an executive order to direct the federal government to “reduce the emergence and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and to help ensure the continued availability of effective treatments for bacterial infections.”

The goals include reducing inappropriate antibiotic use for inpatients for monitored conditions by 20% and reducing inappropriate antibiotic use for outpatients by 50% by the year 2020.

The announcement was released in connection with the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology's Combating Antibiotic Resistance report, which contains recommendations.

Antibiotic-resistant infections are estimated to cause around 23,000 deaths and 2 million illnesses in the United States each year, and cost $20 billion in direct healthcare costs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Antibiotic resistance is an ongoing problem in long-term care.

The National Institutes of Health and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority also have launched a $20 million prize for a rapid diagnostic test for healthcare providers to identify highly resistant bacterial infections at the point of patient care.

Following the release of the reports, witnesses told House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health at a Friday hearing that more incentives need to exist to fight antibiotic resistance.

The full strategy can be read here.