Maybe Sebelius Will Overule the FDA Again (on Antibiotic Resistance)?

Let me get this right: Plan B–bad and the FDA should be overruled; preventing needless antibiotic use in agriculture…also bad but should not be overruled? In fairness, I don’t know if Secretary Sebelius can overrule the FDA decision to not ban the use of penicillin and tetracycline in agricultural feeds. On other hand, a holiday eve announcement in the Federal Register seems to a have a ‘sweep it under the rug’ feel to it. Scary Bug Lady (also known as ‘Maryn McKenna’):

With no notice other than a holiday-eve posting in the Federal Register, the US Food and Drug Administration has reneged on its long-stated intention to compel large-scale agriculture to curb over-use of agricultural antibiotics, which it had planned to do by reversing its approval for putting penicillin and tetracyclines in feed.

How long-stated? The FDA first announced its intention to withdraw those approvals in 1977

For 34 years, the FDA has been contending that administering small doses of antibiotics to healthy animals is an inappropriate use of increasingly scarce drugs — a position in which it is supported by organizations as mainstream as the American Medical Association. With this withdrawal, it backs away from the actions it took to support that assertion — and may indicate there will be no further government action on the issue until after the 2012 election.

In the Federal Register, the FDA says that it plans instead to “focus its efforts for now on the potential for voluntary reform and the promotion of the judicious use of antimicrobials in the interest of public health.” That’s a reference to a draft guidance that the FDA put forward in the summer of 2010, which proposes that large-scale agriculture voluntarily stop using those “subtherapeutic” small doses, and also stop giving any antibiotic doses to animals unless veterinarians prescribe them.

Admittedly, McKenna and I probably represent a substantial fraction of the responsible-use-of-antibiotics caucus, so the backlash won’t be close to that over the Plan B decision, but I don’t get this.

Actually, I do: once again, the Obama administration decided corporations are more important than people (Got Banksters?).

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