The White House announced a new plan for combating antibiotic-resistant bacteria on Friday, and media coverage focused on the “aggressive” nature of the proposal and what was portrayed as the high financial cost of implementation. The reporting almost universally included President Obama’s comments during a WebMD interview. While the announcement was covered by the major print sources and wire services, none of the broadcast networks reported on the plan.
The New York Times reported that Obama “urged Congress to double the funding to confront” antibiotic-resistant bacteria to more than $1.2 billion. The main pillars of the plan include “improved surveillance of outbreaks, better diagnostic tests and new research on alternative drugs.” Additionally, the plan calls for “government agencies to bolster systems to track the consumption of antibiotics and to reduce inappropriate use in people and animals.”
The Washington Post “To Your Health” blog reported that the plan comes as “scientists, doctors and other public health officials have increasingly” asserted that “if antibiotic resistance were to continue at the current rate, routine infections could become life-threatening.” The Post also provided some of the specifics of the initiative. Under the plan, the CDC will endeavor “to cut Clostridium difficile infections by 50 percent, reduce carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) infections acquired during hospitalization by 60 percent and lower Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bloodstream infections by at least 50 percent.” Additionally, hospitals will be “required to put in place programs to improve infection control,” including “hand-washing and the judicious use of prescribing antibiotics for patients.”
From the news release of the American Association for Justice.
Photo by dream designs, via freedigitalphotos.net.