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ASHP Joins Effort to Combat Antibiotic Resistance

  • July 29, 2015
  • RPh on the Go

antibiotic-resistance-pharmacistPaul W. Abramowitz, PharmD, ScD, CEO of American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP) visited the White House along with national leaders from more than 150 major food companies, retailers, and human and animal health stakeholders. He took part in the White House Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship, announcing commitment to make changes over the course of the next five years to slow down the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria, find resistant strains, prevent the spread of resistant infections, and continue to preserve the efficacy of antibiotics currently available today.

ASHP committed to collaborating on the development of standardized metrics for antibiotic stewardship programs, as well as fostering the development of research, education, and interprofessional collaboration to address the issues associated with antibiotic resistant bacteria.

ASHP has been an advocate in the pharmacist taking a prominent role in antimicrobial stewardship programs. The organization has devoted mass resources to the efforts, offering education, practice guidelines, and research funding to support pharmacists in their ability to participate in programs like these.

In antimicrobial stewardship and infection prevention and control, pharmacists can promote the optimal use of antimicrobial medications, help reduce the transmission of infection, and help educate other health professionals, the public, and patients.

The White House Forum, held in June, aimed to exchange ideas on ways to stakeholders, both public and private, can work together to improve responsible antibiotic use, and to discuss ways to further improvement.

The forum builds upon progress that authority being made to combat antibiotic resistance. In September 2014, Pres. Obama signed Executive Order 13676, which brings priority to combating the antibiotic resistance in bacteria on the federal level. His administration has also issued the National Strategy on Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria. In March 2015, the administration released the national action plan for combating antibiotic resistant bacteria, which provides a comprehensive plan identifying critical actions for federal departments and agencies that will help enhance diagnosis and treatment while limiting the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

At the forum, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum (PM) directing federal departments and agencies to create a preference for meat and poultry produced according to responsible antibiotic use. He wants to support the emerging meat market for meat produced according to responsible use policies.

Several private sector commitments were also made, beyond ASHP’s, including commitments from:

  • Hospital Corporation of America: Committed to developing and implementing new decision and support time antibiogram tracking to speed response time for lab results, bug-drug mismatches, etc.
  • Kaiser Permanente: Committed to supporting antibiotic stewardship programs, as well as guiding prescribing practices for antimicrobials at all Kaiser Medical Centers.
  • BioMérieux: Committed to produce a real-time antibiotic surveillance system

This is all in part, a result of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that two million illnesses and 23,000 deaths occur every year in the United States alone as a result of drug-resistant bacteria.

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