WASHINGTON, June 13, 2013 – President Obama today signed a ‘clean’ Animal Drug User Fee Act (ADUFA) reauthorization into law, after months of speculation that the legislation could serve as a vehicle for anti-antibiotics legislation.
The House of Representatives passed the bill (S. 622) and sent it to the President last week.
“We appreciate the President’s quick action on ADUFA,” an Animal Health Institute (AHI) spokesman said following today’s news.
Richard Carnevale, AHI’s vice president for science and international affairs, testified during both House and Senate reauthorization hearings, and told House members in April that ADUFA funding levels were “agreed to by the industry (and) based on an objective assessment of agency resource needs and will allow it to keep current standards.”
During the House hearing, a number of Democratic representatives pressed participants on the use of antibiotics in the livestock industry. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., complained that current FDA standards do not demand transparency from the sector, and wondered whether antibiotics were being used for growth promotion “or generally to keep (livestock) healthy.”
“We know a lot about how antibiotics are being used in humans,” Waxman said. “But we know very little about how they are being used on farms and ranches.”
Waxman and his colleagues worried antibiotics overuse in the livestock industry could lead to resistance among humans.
But Dr. Mike Apely, a professor of production medicine and clinical pharmacology at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and another hearing participant, assured lawmakers that veterinarians already made thoughtful use of antibiotics.
“We do good by animals when we use antibiotics judiciously,” he said.
The bill signed into law today passed without amendment.
“Veterinarians, livestock and poultry producers and pet owners will all benefit from their efforts by having access to new and innovative medical advancements to treat and prevent diseases in animals,” AHI President and CEO Alexander Mathews said after Congress passed ADUFA last week. “Consumers will reap the food safety benefits that result from the availability of additional tools to keep animals healthy.”