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Infectious diseases experts applaud bill against 'bad bugs'
Date:9/28/2007

Arlington, VAWith extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, life-threatening drug-resistant respiratory and skin infections, and other bad bugs routinely making headlines, infectious diseases physicians are applauding Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) and Rep. Michael Ferguson (R-NJ) for introducing H.R. 3697, the Strategies To Address Antimicrobial Resistance (STAAR) Act.

The STAAR Act has the potential to save thousands of lives, said Martin J. Blaser, MD, past president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). IDSA strongly supports the STAAR Act and the comprehensive approach that Reps. Matheson and Ferguson are taking to tackle the problem of antimicrobial resistance. Infectious diseases physicians have watched in dismay for years as the antibacterials and other antimicrobials we rely upon to treat our patients have lost their power.

To make matters worse, there are very few new drugs in the pipeline to replace the failing ones, because the pharmaceutical industry now finds developing new antibiotics less appealing than developing drugs for chronic conditions like heart disease. We are in danger of slipping backward to the era before antibiotics, Dr. Blaser added. The STAAR Act gets us back in the fight by enhancing federal leadership, encouraging expert input, and by improving our grasp on resistance and ways to control it.

The issue goes beyond just the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Blaser said. We are all in this togetherdrug companies, physicians, public health experts, and patients. The STAAR Act makes everyone a partner in the solution.

The bill takes a holistic approach to address inappropriate use, a significant problem that diminishes the effectiveness of antibiotics once they are approved.

It vastly improves the nations capacity to control resistance by establishing a network of experts across the country to conduct regional monitoring of resistant organisms as they occura kind of snapshot
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Contact: Steve Baragona
sbaragona@idsociety.org
703-299-0412
Infectious Diseases Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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