WASHINGTON, D.C. – With so-called “super bugs” on the rise, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced the Strategies to Address Antimicrobial Resistance (STAAR) Act, legislation aimed at combating antimicrobial resistance. Brown called for greater Federal attention to the growth of antibiotic-resistant infections, which affect more than two million Americans each year. The STAAR Act would provide a rare opportunity to bring multiple federal and non-governmental partners together to protect the public health from these drug-resistant bugs.
“Each year more than 23,000 Americans die from bacterial infections that are resistant to antibiotics,” Brown said. “Antibiotics and other antimicrobial drugs have been a victim of their own success. We have used these drugs so widely and for so long that the microbes they are designed to kill have adapted to them, making the drugs less effective. We need a comprehensive strategy to address antimicrobial resistance. That is why I am introducing the STAAR Act, which would revitalize efforts to combat super bugs.”
Emerging antimicrobial resistance and the growing shortage of effective antibiotic drugs is widely regarded as a crisis that jeopardizes patient safety and public health. Once confined to hospitals, drug-resistant microbes—such as multi-drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)—are now striking down healthy, nonhospitalized citizens; both young and old, adults and children. These infections are painful, difficult to treat, and have become a silent epidemic in communities and hospitals across the United States.
The STAAR Act would help strengthen the federal response to antimicrobial resistance by placing more of an emphasis on federal antimicrobial resistance surveillance, prevention and control, and research efforts. In addition, the Act would strengthen coordination within both Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agencies as well as across other federal departments that are important to addressing antimicrobial resistance and enable opportunities to address this issue globally. By providing for a more comprehensive and coordinated approach to the antimicrobial resistance crisis, the STAAR Act represents a critical first step toward resolving what has become a major public health crisis.