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Press Release

Bera and Peters Introduce Legislation to Strengthen Federal Response to Antimicrobial Resistance

Antimicrobial resistant ‘superbugs’ kill 23,000 Americans annually

U.S. Representatives Ami Bera, M.D. (CA-07) and Scott Peters (CA-52) today introduced comprehensive legislation to strengthen our ability to detect and prevent antimicrobial resistant ‘superbugs.’

Over two million Americans are sickened every year with antimicrobial-resistant infections, caused when germs develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. The economic cost of antimicrobial resistance to the U.S. economy have ranged as high as $20 billion in excess direct health costs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Strategies to Address Antimicrobial Resistance (STAAR) Act would improve the nation’s health by strengthening the federal response to antimicrobial resistance through increased data collection, monitoring, prevention, and control.

“Antimicrobial resistance is a present and clear threat to our nation’s public health, leading to over 23,000 deaths annually and exorbitant costs for treatment,” said Representative Bera, who previously served as Chief Medical Officer for Sacramento County. “As a doctor, I know it’s a public health imperative that we take proactive measures now to save lives and reduce health care costs for American families. This legislation would redouble our efforts to stop these deadly superbugs and to preserve the remarkable medical gains we’ve made since the development of antimicrobials nearly a century ago.”

“Antibiotics are becoming less and less effective every year, in part due to over-prescription, leading to more Americans becoming infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Even before the pandemic, the CDC said about a third of all antibiotic prescriptions were unnecessary. The STAAR Act will not only strengthen our capacity to monitor antibiotic use, it will help us better study, detect, and prevent antimicrobial resistance,” said Representative Peters. “We need to give our public health sector the support it needs to combat the looming threat superbugs pose.”

Specifically, the STAAR Act would:

  1. Improve data collection for human antimicrobial drug consumption and resistance.
  2. Direct the CDC to report every 2 years on resistance trends, threats, and antimicrobial use.
  3. Authorizes grants to health care facilities to study the development and implementation of antimicrobial stewardship programs, and directs the piloting and testing of antimicrobial appropriate use quality measures.
  4. Reauthorize the Antimicrobial Resistance Task Force through 2028 and establish benchmarks to monitor progress of implementing Task Force recommendations.

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

Click here to read the full text of the bill.