Bills to curb antibiotic use head to governor's desk | August 20, 2014 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - August 20, 2014

Bills to curb antibiotic use head to governor's desk

by Tiffany Lam

The California Legislature last week sent to the governor two bills sponsored by Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, that will prohibit the use of antibiotics as growth enhancers in farm animals and promote more responsible use of antibiotics in humans.

Sen. Hill told the Almanac he is optimistic the bills will be signed. The bill involving antibiotic use in livestock is supported by the state's Department of Food and Agriculture, he noted, and that endorsement is a good indication that the bill is supported by the governor's office.

He said that in working on the bills, he worked closely with the California Hospital Association, which also supports the legislation.

Both bills passed unanimously in the state Senate and Assembly. Sen. Hill said his research indicates that, if the bills are signed, California would be the first state enacting into law such restrictions on antibiotic use.

Sen. Hill, whose District 13 includes most of San Mateo County and the northern portion of Santa Clara County, said a recent report by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) prompted his efforts to curb the overuse of antibiotics, which has led to greatly increased resistance to infections.

The CDC reports that more than 2 million Americans develop antibiotic resistance each year, and the drug-resistant infections kill about 23,000 annually. Up to 50 percent of antibiotics prescribed in this country are not needed or are improperly prescribed, according to the CDC.

Senate Bill 835 would allow antibiotics to be sold for use in livestock only for medical reasons. Antibiotics could be administered only with a prescription and under veterinary oversight. Currently, 70 percent of all antibiotics used nationwide are sold for use in livestock, and much of that use is for the sole purpose of fattening up the animals, according to the press release.

"The Food and Drug Administration says there is no scientific reason why antibiotics should be used to promote growth in livestock," Sen. Hill said in the release.

Senate Bill 1311 would require that all general acute care hospitals in California establish antimicrobial stewardship programs by July 1, 2015. Stewardship programs ensure that antibiotics are used only when necessary, that the right antibiotic is chosen, and that antibiotics are administered correctly.

— Associate Editor Renee Batti contributed to this story.


There are no comments yet for this post

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields


Meet the winners!

The results are in. Check out The Almanac readers' favorite foods, services and fun stuff in the area.

View Winners