President Obama Prioritizes Antibiotic Resistance After CRE Infections

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Spurred by the CRE superbug infections linked to contaminated duodenoscopes, the White House announced a five year plan to fight antibiotic resistance in a 60-page report released today on the White House blog.

The Obama plan calls for an increase in the government’s budget in this area to $1.2 billion to be used on investments in antibiotics, new diagnostic tools and better use of antibiotic drugs. The plan will also involve greater surveillance of prescribing practices and collaboration internationally with organizations such as the World Health Organization and foreign countries.

The report hopes the plan will lead to two antibiotic drugs that can be used on difficult to treat bacteria. Because of the rise of antibiotic resistance, the current pharmaceutical of last resort has been moving back to a toxic drug developed in the 1950s and prescribers stopped using in the 1970s.

The plan also reportedly calls for infection control programs related to the cleaning of hospital equipment and hand washing. Medicare and Medicaid doctors will be required to report antibiotic prescriptions to the federal government.

The goal is to reduce carbapenam-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) infections by 60 percent. The CRE infections were central. The plan also seeks to cut C. difficile and MRSA infections by at least 50 percent.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2 million people are infected each year with antibiotic resistant bacteria.

The increased scrutiny of infection control procedures and antibiotic drugs can be linked to the recent outbreak of superbug infections reportedly from contaminated duodenoscopes. Over the past few years, hospitals in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Los Angeles, to name a few, have had outbreaks. UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh, Virginia Mason in Seattle and Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles have linked the spread of the deadly infections to duodenoscopes.

Olympus is the largest manufacturer of duodenoscopes in the US. It made a change to its device in 2010 without seeking the FDA’s 510(K) clearance that has still not been granted clearance by the FDA. The company advised doctors and other medical professionals in a letter yesterday that they should immediately begin new cleaning procedures for the device.

For our free ebook covering the spread of CRE infections by contaminated duodenoscopes and other related information, visit