Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., on Monday asked President Obama to ensure $15 million in funding for the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System in fiscal year 2016.
The Senators made the request in a letter dated Sept. 22. NARMS tracks antibiotic resistance in foodborne pathogens through surveillance of animals, meat and poultry products, and human cases of foodborne illness. The program then analyzes collected data for trends and potential public health threats.
According to the letter, NARMS was funded at $7.8 million in FY 2014, allowing the program to sample retail meat in only 14 states, restricting the Food and Drug Administration's ability to study trends in antibiotic resistance.
"Increasing the funding for NARMS to $15 million will greatly enhance the program and improve the FDA's ability to study antibiotic resistance, the letter said. "Specifically, providing more funding will allow the FDA to increase the number of samples the agency collects, increase the number of states in which sampling is conducted, and implement advanced molecular detection to improve the agency's analysis of antibiotic resistant pathogens."
The letter comes just as President Obama last week announced a Federal Executive Order and antibiotic resistance report to draw attention to the issue of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
During last week's announcement, the Administration said an interagency task force will implement the "National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria" and address recommendations in a recent report from the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.