White House Actions On Antibiotic Resistance: Big Steps, Plus Disappointments

Maryn McKenna | WIRED | September 22, 2014

The United States government proposed several important steps last week that, if accomplished, will significantly change how this country attempts to counter the advance of antibiotic resistance, bringing us within reach of the more complete programs which exist in Europe. But as significant as it is, the new program has some perplexing gaps that left experts attending to the issue disappointed.

This all happened on Thursday, several things at the same time:

  • The White House published a National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.
  • Simultaneously, President Obama signed an Executive Order directing the enactment of the strategy.
  • And the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released its long-awaited report on antibiotic resistance (which I’ve previously written about here and here).

Taking the White House steps first, the Executive Order creates a within-government Task Force for combating resistance — jointly chaired by the secretaries of Health and Human Services, Agriculture and Defense — and a Presidential Advisory Council of non-government experts to guide and comment on the Task Force actions, which would be implementing the strategy...