National poll highlights broad voter concern around future threats of infectious disease; New initiative to convene stakeholders for greater collaboration in the #Fight4Health
June 25, 2020 (Washington, D.C.) The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) today announced a new initiative to advance awareness on the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR, aka “superbugs”) and to drive action for policy changes to address the threat AMR poses to our health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 2.8 million drug-resistant infections occur in the U.S. each year and more than 35,000 people die as a result. The COVID-19 crisis has increased public awareness on the importance of having the right treatments available to treat public health crises as they arise. The threat of AMR looms large as an existing and growing public health need.
In addition to educating and drawing attention to AMR as a pressing public health issue, the Partnership to Fight Infectious Disease (PFID) will:
- Advocate for policy changes to encourage research and development of new treatments and therapies for infectious diseases,
- Motivate broad change in the way antimicrobial treatments (e.g. antibiotics, antifungals) are developed, distributed, and consumed, and
- Reinforce awareness about the value of antimicrobial treatments, the impact to the practice of modern medicine, and the threat to individual health.
“The launch of PFID is an extension of PFCD’s work for over a decade to advance a vision for a healthier future. The significant impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic on the millions of Americans living with one or more chronic conditions is a long overdue wake-up call that demands an answer,” stated PFCD Chairman Ken Thorpe. “PFCD stands committed to our goals of addressing the burden of chronic disease, motivating calls for change, and challenging policy makers to create sustainable progress for both chronic and infectious disease threats that exact a heavy human and economic toll in America.”
According to a recent national poll of 1,000 likely voters, there is considerable urgency around and support of policy changes on issues related to AMR.
“The level of concern voters have about antimicrobial resistance is intense and remarkably consistent across the country,” said Celinda Lake, President of Lake Research Partners. “They want this issue to be a high priority for policymakers.”
- When presented with some background on AMR, 85 percent of respondents said they were very or somewhat concerned about the issue and 76 percent believe that the development of new antibiotics should be a top or high priority.
- More than 50 percent of respondents strongly agree that the government, universities, and drug companies need to all work together to deal with antimicrobial resistance. The strongest predictor of concern for this issue is if a voter has been impacted by COVID-19.
- Fifty-nine percent of those who have been seriously impacted by COVID-19 are much more likely to say they are very concerned about AMR, and are also more likely to feel the development of new antibiotics should be a top or high priority (87%) compared to those who haven't been seriously impacted (64%). Levels of concern were notably higher among people of color and older Americans, those most impacted by the current pandemic. Further, supporting a candidate who makes the development of new antibiotics a priority was a likelihood for many, and a strong majority believe investment in antibiotics is too low.
“Everyone needs antibiotics to work, whether you are living with chronic disease, are having a routine surgery or undergoing cancer treatment or dialysis. Antibiotics are the safety net of modern medicine, and every procedure becomes more dangerous if we lose them,” said Kevin Outterson, Executive Director of CARB-X, a global non-profit partnership that funds the early development of new antibiotics, vaccines, and rapid diagnostics urgently need to treat superbugs. “There are solutions. We need to invest in new antibiotics to address drug-resistant pathogens.”
While the causes for the existing shortfall are many, the PFID initiative will prioritize prevention and translate knowledge into action by stakeholders across the health care continuum – patients, providers, employers, policymakers, payers, pharmaceutical companies and many others. In doing so, the end goal is to cultivate collaboration among both public and private stakeholders to expand education and awareness of the issues and related impact areas, and to encourage and support innovation and development of quality treatments and therapies that can address the health threats of today and protect patients at large into the future.
“Without effective antibiotics many of the advances of modern medicine are in jeopardy. We must curtail the overuse and misuse of antibiotics that is driving the development of resistance and invest in new antibiotics that can treat superbugs. IDSA welcomes the PFID partnership to help drive the policy changes we need,” stated Amanda Jezek, Senior Vice President, Public Policy and Government Relations, Infectious Diseases Society of America.
For more information about the PFID and efforts to address AMR throughout the U.S. and across the globe, visit www.fightinfectiousdisease.org.