Letter to Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro Supporting “Helping Effective Antibiotics to Last” (HEAL) Act

Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro

2413 Rayburn HOB

Washington, DC 20515

Dear Congresswoman DeLauro:

We are writing this letter to express our strong and enthusiastic support for the “Helping Effective Antibiotics to Last” (HEAL) Act.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points out that two major actions are urgently needed to address the threat posed by antibiotic resistance are: 1) stop the misuse of existing antibiotics, and 2) develop effective new antibiotics.  HEAL is the first bill to focus on both these necessary actions.

HEAL is a great step forward to addressing antibiotic resistance because it respects the science that informs the causes of antibiotic resistance and puts patients first, not the drug companies.  Unfortunately, previous Congressional efforts to fight antibiotic resistance focused primarily on pushing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve antibiotics more quickly, often relying on provisions that lower the standards of FDA approval.  That strategy actually can increase antibiotic resistance rather than reduce it: Because new antibiotics are often chemically similar to old antibiotics, bacteria that are resistant to the old antibiotics will be resistant to the new drugs, and vice versa.  In addition, any benefits of a new antibiotic will be quickly lost if it is used too widely for patients who don’t need it.  And since the risks of new antibiotics are not fully realized until years later, overuse of new antibiotics by patients who would get well from older drugs put those patients at risk of permanent harm and even death.

That’s why many members of the Patient, Consumer, and Public Health Coalition strongly support HEAL: the first and only antibiotics bill to put patients first in the effort to reduce antibiotic resistance at the same time it encourages pharmaceutical companies to develop safe and effective new antibiotics for the patients who urgently need them.


American Medical Student Association

Breast Cancer Action

Center for Medical Consumers

Connecticut Center for Patient Safety

Consumers Union

Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health

Mothers Against Medical Error

National Center for Health Research

National Consumers League

Public Citizen

The TMJ Association

Center for Science and Democracy, Union of Concerned Scientists


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