Senate Approves Bill To Monitor Antibiotic Use in Animals
The Senate on Wednesday voted 24-13 to pass a bill (SB 506) that would require the state to monitor use of antibiotics in animals to help determine whether overuse of the medications has led to increased resistance to antibiotics in humans, the Los Angeles Times reports. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Byron Sher (D-Palo Alto), marks the first effort by state lawmakers to monitor the amount of antibiotics and medicated feed administered to chickens, cows, pigs and other livestock; the FDA monitors national sales of certain antibiotics and has said that at least one class of antibiotics used in poultry -- fluoroquinolones -- has contributed to the development of antibiotic-resistant infections in humans. "I think there's a lot of concern about the problem" of antibiotic resistance, Sher said, adding, "We think the place to start is collecting information about how much of this is happening." The bill would require wholesalers and manufacturers of prescription animal antibiotics to report their sales to the Board of Pharmacy and would require wholesalers and manufacturers of over-the-counter injectable antibiotics and feed additives to report their sales to the Department of Food and Agriculture. The state would use the information to determine the antibiotics used on animals, as well as the amounts used, and would compare that information with resistance levels in some humans to certain antibiotics.
"We think this is an important piece of the puzzle. We need to get a sense of what antibiotics are being used and in what settings to track their use through the food chain," Dr. Tamar Barlam of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which supports the bill, said. However, some animal feed industry representatives said that the legislation would not provide "meaningful" information about the development of antibiotic-resistant infections. "We think the problem requires a broader look than just looking at antibiotic use in agriculture," Richard Matteis, executive director of the California Grain and Feed Association, said, adding that the state also should monitor use of human antibiotics. The bill moves to the Assembly for consideration (Fulmer, Los Angeles Times, 6/5).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.