So Many Issues. So Little Time.

 So Many Issues. So Little Time.

Do you ever feel for our elected representatives?

So many issues pulling them in different directions; constituents, lobbyists, all pushing their agenda, all looking to get what they want; it’s crazy. They need to appease everyone, all the while looking towards the next election, keeping tabs on their poll numbers, tweeting. It’s a tough job - deciding how to cut healthcare costs while keeping your own tax-payer funded plan. Who can really blame them for taking so much time off?

With such big issues demanding so much of our representative’s time it’s easy to see how some of the more mundane, perhaps not as headline-grabbing issues, get pushed to the back burner.

For me – the “back-burner” issue that is rattling around inside my head comes from reading a recent press release with the headline:

Superbugs: First Independent Comparison of Pharma Companies' Efforts to Address Drug-resistant Infections

Published by the Access to Medicine Foundation, an independent non-profit organization based in the Netherlands, the goal of this first-ever analysis of the pharmaceutical industry's efforts to deal with Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) was to set a benchmark and then track how the industry is making efforts reduce AMR.

I won’t go into the specifics of the report here. You can read the entire report on the organization’s website: https://amrbenchmark.org.

Suffice to say here that the benchmark “measures the 30 most active players in antimicrobial development and production and includes multinational pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology firms and manufacturers of generic medicines. The main areas tracked are: R&D for new antimicrobials, policies for ensuring antibiotics are manufactured responsibly, and approaches to ensure antimicrobials are accessible and used wisely. Information was gathered and cross-checked from multiple sources.”

We all know that AMR is a huge health care problem – and in fact the rest of the world has recognized the same, the report states as much, “There is now wide recognition at the highest political levels that more needs to be done urgently to slow the pace of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), with AMR initiatives being launched by the United Nations, the G7 and G20. Bringing drug resistance under control requires coordinated action from governments, policy-makers and public health authorities, doctors, farmers and pharmaceutical companies, as well as patients. Most companies in the Benchmark have signed up to industry-wide commitments, as set out in the January 2016 Davos Declaration on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance.”

But what about back here at home, what are we doing to combat AMR? Granted the United States is part of the United Nations and the other global organizations – so we must be aware of the AMR problem?

Doing a general search on whitehouse.gov for Antimicrobial Resistance brings up no matches. Clicking through to the Healthcare tab and doing a search using the same term results in one mention – the President’s five-paragraph remarks from November 13, 2017 supporting Antibiotic Awareness Week, 2017.

Is it just me or does anyone else think this should be a bigger issue? It appears the rest of the world is taking it seriously, why aren’t we?

Or is it just a case of too many issues, too little time?

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