As part of the continued effort to combat antibiotic resistance, the Obama administration convened a White House Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship on June 2 to bring together key human and animal health constituencies involved in antibiotic stewardship — the development, promotion, and implementation of activities to ensure the responsible use of antibiotics. As part of the event, more than 150 food companies, retailers, and human and animal health stakeholders, including Nicole Brandt, PharmD, MBA, a professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, highlighted commitments to implement changes over the next five years to slow the emergence of resistant bacteria and prevent the spread of resistant infections.
Brandt was invited to participate in the summit as president-elect of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP), an international professional society devoted to optimal medication management and improved health outcomes for older persons. Brandt is currently serving a two-year term as president-elect and will become president of ASCP in November. She participated in the summit in a panel discussion on antibiotic resistance in post-acute long-term care settings.
“Pharmacists-directed antibiotic stewardship programs have been shown to improve clinical outcomes, prevent resistance, and decrease adverse events,” she says. “This occurs through a multifaceted approach including education, clinical treatment protocols, collaboration with prescribers, patients, caregivers, and laboratory services personnel, and more.”
According to the White House, the June 2 summit built on a number of steps the administration has taken to combat antibiotic resistance. In September 2014, President Obama signed Executive Order 13676 prioritizing federal efforts to combat the rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The administration also issued the National Strategy on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, and the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology released a report with recommendations to address the crisis of the proliferation of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. In March 2015, the administration released the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, a comprehensive plan that identifies critical actions for key federal departments and agencies to enhance diagnosis and treatment and limit the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
In addition, the president has signed a memorandum directing federal departments and agencies to create a preference for meat and poultry produced according to responsible antibiotic use. The Presidential Food Service also is committing to serving meats and poultry that have not been treated with hormones or antibiotics. Separately, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will announce that it has finalized changes to the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) regulation, an important piece of FDA’s overall strategy to promote the judicious use of medically important antibiotics in food-producing animals as it facilitates bringing the feed-use of such antibiotics under the oversight of licensed veterinarians.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that drug-resistant bacteria cause 2 million illnesses and about 23,000 deaths each year in the United States alone.
As one of more than 24 nonprofit organizations, consumer and patient advocates, and foundations committed to advocating and supporting innovative changes in practice related to antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance, ASCP will educate clinical staff using the CDC’s Core Elements of Antibiotic Stewardship for guidance, including tracking and reporting antibiotic prescribing patterns and committing to taking a leadership role in ensuring appropriate dissemination of information. Furthermore, ASCP will convene an antibiotic stewardship task force, comprised of an interdisciplinary team of thought leaders, to help move the stewardship goals forward and will work with other stakeholder groups to educate all long-term care clinicians on appropriate antibiotic stewardship.
“I was honored to have been asked to participate in the summit and to represent the pharmacy profession,” says Brandt. “It was one of the highlights of my career because this initiative has the potential to impact human health around the world, not just in the United States.”