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For Immediate
May 19, 1999

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  Consumer Group Urges FDA to Take Swift Action to Protect Effectiveness of Antibiotics

A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine (May 20) documented that human infections acquired in the U.S. by fluoroquinolone-resistant Campylobacter are most likely due to the use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics in poultry. Patricia Lieberman, Ph.D., a scientist who directs the Antibiotic-Resistance Project at the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest, had the following comment.

“The spread of antibiotic-resistant Campylobacter demonstrates the failure of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) antibiotics policies. Fluoroquinolones are critically important for treating life-threatening foodborne and other bacterial infections. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged the FDA not to approve fluoroquinolones for treating flocks of poultry, but the FDA caved in to drug-industry pressure. Now the predicted problem has occurred: Campylobacter, which causes food poisoning, is becoming resistant to fluoroquinolones. That will make it harder to treat those illnesses. If Salmonella becomes resistant, illnesses may be fatal.”

“The FDA should make the public’s health its top priority. It should first ban flock-wide applications of fluoroquinolones. It should then ban the use of medically important antibiotics to fatten livestock.”