Late Breaking News
GAO: Lack of Information on Inpatient Antibiotic Use Hampers Resistance Monitoring
WASHINGTON — Despite widespread warnings by federal health agencies about the dangers of antibiotic resistance, there are significant gaps in how HHS monitors those infections, according to the Government Accountability Office.
A report released by GAO last month questions whether HHS has adequately assessed the effects of antibiotic use in humans and whether the full impact of antibiotic resistance can be known when there are deficiencies in how incidents are tracked.
According to the report, federal agencies do not routinely quantify the amount of antibiotics produced in the United States for human use. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) monitors antibiotic use in the outpatient setting, the agency’s ability to monitor use in the inpatient setting has gaps. Also, the major surveys looking at medical care services in the U.S. — NAMCS and NHAMCS — do not capture use of antibiotics in the inpatient setting.
This creates a serious gap in the federal government’s ability to see and understand how and where antibiotics are being prescribed, according to GAO.
“CDC does not monitor the use of antibiotics in inpatient settings — where antibiotic use is often intensive and prolonged and thus, the risk of antibiotic resistance is greater — although the agency believes such information would help it target and evaluate its own prevention efforts to reduce the occurrence of resistance,” the report states.
CDC also fails to assess geographic patterns of antibiotic use, the report noted.
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