National Initiative on Antibiotic Resistance

The following is a brief overview and history of Federal involvement in efforts to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria and CDC’s role in supporting executive antimicrobial resistance (AR) initiatives.

White House Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship

On June 2, 2015, the White House hosted the Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship to bring together more than 100 key human and animal health leaders involved in antibiotic stewardship—the development, promotion, and implementation of activities to promote optimal use of antibiotics nationwide. The leaders represented hospitals and healthcare systems, human and animal health, diagnostic and pharmaceutical companies, agriculture organizations, and more who committed to taking part in antibiotic stewardship to change the way antibiotics are currently prescribed and used to slow the spread of drug-resistant infections.

Some examples of the stewardship commitments include:

  • CDC, along with other Health and Human Services (HHS) agencies, will provide data about antibiotic use and prescribing trends in order to improve antibiotic use in the future and cut inappropriate prescribing by 50 percent in doctors’ offices and 20 percent in hospitals.
  • Healthcare systems representing thousands of hospitals, long-term acute care facilities, and skilled nursing centers are committing to establishing or expanding stewardship programs PDF across their locations to improve prescribing.
  • Major food producers are committing to phasing out giving unnecessary antibiotics to animals, and food retailers, like grocery stores, are committing to providing more antibiotic-free options to their consumers.
  • Drug store and drug companies are committing to integrating CDC’s stewardship principles into programs that provide free or reduced-price antibiotics to patients.

For additional information about the White House Forum, see the resources listed below:

A full description of how, if fully funded, CDC’s FY16 budget plans to support stewardship activities and the National Action Plan can be found in the Antibiotic Resistance Solutions Initiative.

National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

The White House released the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria, which outlines steps for implementing the National Strategy and addressing policy recommendations of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report on combating antibiotic resistance.

The National Action Plan outlines federal activities over the next five years to:

  • Enhance domestic and international capacity to prevent and contain outbreaks of antibiotic-resistant infections
  • Maintain the efficacy of current and new antibiotics
  • Develop and deploy next-generation diagnostics, antibiotics, vaccines, and other therapeutics

To read an interview with President Obama and WebMD about the National Action Plan to Combat Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria, visit

To read the White House Blog Post by Secretaries Burwell, Carter, and Vilsack on this important topic, visit

Executive Order - Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

executive order cover

The President released an Executive Order to emphasize the importance of addressing the threat of antimicrobial resistance. The Executive Order included specific actions related to:

  • Policy and the government’s role to detect, prevent, and control illness and death related to AR by implementing measures to reduce its spread
  • Establishing a task force for combating antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which would be co-chaired by the Secretaries of Defense, Agriculture, and Health and Human Services Department (HHS)
  • Developing a five-year National Action Plan to outline specific actions to be taken to implement the National Strategy and updates to the Action Plan in years thereafter
  • Establishing the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria
  • Improving antibiotic stewardship and use of antibiotics by hospitals and other inpatient healthcare delivery facilities
  • Strengthening national surveillance systems and laboratory networks of resistant bacteria
  • Preventing and responding to infections and outbreaks of antibiotic-resistant bacteria
  • Promoting new and next-generation antibiotics and diagnostics
  • Supporting cooperation of international antibiotic resistance efforts
» Learn more

National Strategy to Combat Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

The White House released the National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria to prevent, detect, and control illness and death related to antibiotic-resistant infections. To support the National Strategy, CDC is working to address the threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in four key areas:

  • Slow the development of resistant bacteria and prevent the spread of resistant infections.
  • Strengthen national one-health surveillance efforts to combat resistance.
  • Advance development and use of rapid and innovative diagnostic tests for identification and characterization of resistant bacteria.
  • Improve international collaboration and capacities for antibiotic resistance prevention, surveillance, control and antibiotic research and development.
» Learn more

PCAST Report on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance PDF

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released its report to the President on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance in the U.S. PDF with key recommendations focusing on antibiotic resistance policy, stewardship, and surveillance. The PCAST’s recommendations to curb antibiotic resistance include three key areas:

  • Improving surveillance of the antibiotic-resistant bacteria
  • Increasing longevity of current antibiotics by improving use and implementation of interventions
  • Increasing the rate at which new antibiotics and other interventions are discovered and developed
» Learn more PDF

CDC report: Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013

threat report cover

CDC released its report, Antimicrobial resistance threats in the U.S., and sounded the alarm to drug-resistant bacteria. The report, the first to look at burden and threats posed by AR on human health, shows:

  • More than two million people are sickened every year with antibiotic-resistant infections, with at least 23,000 dying as a result
  • Antibiotic-resistant bacteria prioritized by threat-level: urgent, serious, or concerning
  • Core initiatives taken by CDC to fight the spread of antibiotic resistance
  • Summaries of resistant bacteria, including key actions that public health professionals, health providers, and patients can take to combat antibiotic resistance
» Learn more

The information on this page is from the webpage 'Federal Engagement in Antimicrobial Resistance'