The chair and ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined by three committee members, this week sent a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD, saying while they support agency administrative efforts to work cooperatively with industry to more strictly control the use of antibiotics used in livestock feed and water, they want FDA to quickly finalize its plans for eliminating antibiotic growth promotion/feed efficiency label claims, they want to see a final program for enhanced use of the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) program, and they want to see a timeline for creation of a “antimicrobial data collection strategy” as promised by FDA last year.Sens. Tom Harkin (D, IA), HELP chair; Lamar Alexander, ranking member; Dianne Feinstein, Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY) and Mark Kirk (R, IL) told the agency they want to see FDA consult with USDA and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) to determine “data needs and if additional data could be made public” under the feed sections of the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act (FDCA).
They want to see a report on their request along with analyzed data already collected by the agency, stressing they don’t want the agency releasing any proprietary or personal identifiable information on drug and feed companies or individual producers. The letter is a political compromise by Harkin and Alexander and the other three Senators who sought to amend the pending Animal Drug User Fee Act (ADUFA) with the reporting language, but were refused. Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), ranking member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, introduced his own antibiotic reporting bill and wants it included in the House version of ADUFA.