ADA Asks for Position on Antibiotics Council



In 2014, President Obama established the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria to identify and coordinate action across the administration to prevent and control outbreaks of resistant pathogens. Now, the ADA wants a seat at the table.

“On behalf of our 158,000 members, we respectfully ask you to appoint a dentist (or dental association) with the appropriate clinical and scientific credentials to formally advise the Presidential Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria,” the ADA wrote in a letter signed by president Carol Gomez Sumerhays, DDS, and executive director Kathleen T. O’Loughlin, DMD, MPH, to the council.

The letter noted that dentists prescribed 10% of all antibiotics in 2011, making the profession the fourth largest prescribing specialty behind family practitioners (24%), pediatricians (12%), and internists (12%). Yet, the ADA officers noted, dentistry’s use of antibiotics is poorly recognized or underappreciated by other health professions.

“Considering the high rate of antibiotic use in dentistry, it is essential for medicine and dentistry to work in harmony to minimize their overuse, misuse, and abuse,” the ADA letter stated.

The council comprises 15 voting members from academia, advocacy organizations, corporations, and research institutions, in addition to 5 non-voting liaison members representing industry, professional, and nonprofit groups. These members will provide advice, information, and recommendations to the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary on programs and policies related to combating antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotic-resistant bacteria infect 2 million people and kill at least 23,000 people each year in the United States.

“An appropriately credentialed dentist could provide substantive advice, information, and recommendations on the interprofessional challenges and opportunities to control antibiotic-resistance threats,” the ADA’s letter suggested.

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