Stop The Overuse Of Antibiotics

A GROWING CONCERN — At least 23,000 Americans die every year from antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that the widespread overuse of antibiotics on factory farms is making them less effective.

When big farming operations discovered that giving antibiotics to healthy animals could prevent illness while making them fatter, faster, many of them started putting antibiotics into the daily feed of all their livestock, sick or not. The result? Bacteria that come into contact with these animals develop antibiotic resistance, and the infections these bacteria cause -- everything from pneumonia to serious infections like MRSA — become harder and harder to treat.

Our Health At Risk

Millions of Americans rely on antibiotics every day to treat everything from simple ear infections, to serious and potentially life-threatening illnesses like pneumonia. But there is growing concern among public health officials, including from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that the overuse of antibiotics renders medicines like penicillin less and less effective over time.

Overuse On Factory Farms

Believe it or not, the largest users of antibiotics are not people with infections. In fact, up to 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used on animals. Factory farming operations routinely mix huge quantities of antibiotics into the feed they give to healthy livestock. The CDC recently warned that much of the use of antibiotics on factory farms is "unnecessary and inappropriate and makes everyone less safe."

Calling On The Obama Administration

Stopping the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms is common sense. But big agribusinesses and the pharmaceutical industry are pushing back against any change. So U.S. PIRG is building a citizens movement all across the country, to unite the tens of thousands voices that it will take to convince the Obama administration to act. 

How You Can Help

We’re building a movement of concerned citizens across the country, and we need everyone to add their voice to call on the Obama administration to protect our antibiotics and stop the misuse and overuse of antibiotics on factory farms. 

We’re also calling on medical professionals to join our coalition and help us move the president to take action. Are you a medical professional? Sign on to our appeal to President Obama.

Are you a doctor or nurse who has seen the effects of antibiotic resistance first-hand? Tell your story to help us show the reality of this epidemic to lawmakers.

Want to become a coalition partner in our campaign to protect our antibiotics? Sign your organization up here.

Issue updates

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Statement on the President's State of the Union Address

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U.S. PIRG Applauds Reintroduction of Reform Legislation on the Fifth Anniversary of Citizens United

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S&P Settlement Could Leave Taxpayers Partly Underwater Again

Standard & Poor’s (S&P), the bond-rating agency whose past practices have been tied to the mortgage crisis, is in negotiations with the U.S. Justice Department to settle allegations of civil fraud with a payout of over $1 billion. Unless the Justice Department specifically forbids it, the deal could allow S&P to claim the payment as a deductible business expense worth more than $350 million.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Budget

Statement on the President's State of the Union Address

The State of the Union address is the President's opportunity to articulate his priorities.  In a time of divided government, action on many of the President's priorities will require an agreement with Congress.  However, it is notable the range of issues raised by the President where he and his Administration can take action independent of Congress. We list our U.S. PIRG position on key highlights:

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Democracy

U.S. PIRG Applauds Reintroduction of Reform Legislation on the Fifth Anniversary of Citizens United

On the fifth anniversary of the wrong-headed Citizens United decision, the need to get big money out of our elections couldn’t be greater. U.S. PIRG applauds the reintroduction of critical reform legislation by over a dozen leaders in Congress today, including the Democracy for All Amendment, introduced by Senator Tom Udall, and the Government by the People Act, introduced by Rep. John Sarbanes.

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News Release | US PIRG | Tax

S&P Settlement Could Leave Taxpayers Partly Underwater Again

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

House Passes Two Bills Favored By Wall Street, Harmful to the Public

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U.S. PIRG’s campaign to win historic Wall Street Reform was recognized by The Hill newspaper as one of the Top 10 lobbying victories of 2010, which wrote that, “[c]onsumer advocacy groups like the U.S. Public Interest Research Group and the Consumer Federation of America won big with the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency.” In addition, we worked to ensure the confirmation of Richard Cordray as director of the CFPB, ensuring that the new agency had the power to carry out its mission.

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The Money Chase

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Prescription For Change

Our September 2014 survey of physicians paints a grim picture of the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant infections. The overwhelming majority of surveyed doctors reported that one or more of their patients had been diagnosed with a presumed or confirmed case of a multi-drug resistant bacterial infection in the past twelve months. They also expressed concern about the use of antibiotics in livestock production facilities on healthy animals in order to promote growth and prevent disease.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Democracy

Big Money Dominates in Congressional Primaries

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Blog Post | Budget, Tax

New year, fresh start: Congress’s Do’s and Don’ts | Jaimie Woo

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“Tax reform.” Perhaps you hear these words and your eyes gloss over. It’s long been talked about, but hardly any progress made on the issue in nearly 30 years. However, both the president and Republican Congressional leaders have said they’re willing to make headway by reforming the corporate tax code. Here is a short list of Do’s and Don’ts that puts the public interest first and should form the basis of any agreement:

> Keep Reading
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President Issues Privacy Platform | Ed Mierzwinski

Today the President announced support for a variety of privacy protections, most of which are laudable. However, it remains our view that Congressional consideration of a "uniform national breach notification standard" is unnecessary and, worse, will give powerful special interests an opportunity to use the proposal as a Trojan Horse to enact sweeping preemptive limits on state privacy protections.

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Wall Street Gets Rare House Floor Defeat | Ed Mierzwinski

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House Floor Vote on Budget Delayed over Special Interest "Riders" From Wall Street, Other Powerful Interests | Ed Mierzwinski

UPDATED: Opposition to a controversial provision authored by Citibank forced House leaders to delay consideration of the "CRomnibus" appropriations package just hours before funding for the federal government expired at midnight Thursday. Eventually the bill passed narrowly with the Wall Street provision intact. Action now shifts to the Senate, which has a 48-hour window to pass the bill, but any one Senator can block it under Senate rules. The provision would again allow Wall Street banks to place risky bets with taxpayer-backed funds, and require taxpayers to bail them out if the bets fail, repealing a key protection added in the 2010 Wall Street reform law. 

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Blog Post | Budget, Tax

The Country Has Spoken | Jaimie Woo

While the dust is still settling from the mid-term elections and the pundits are trying to figure out what it all means, the American people have made their collective voices heard and delivered a message that they do not like the country's direction. Exit polling data from Election Day showed clear majorities in against growing corporate influence on the political process and in favor of greater corporate accountability. The message is clear: inversions must stop, corporate tax avoidance must end, and special corporate loopholes must close.

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Priority Action

The overuse of antibiotics on factory farms is threatening the effectiveness of lifesaving antibiotics. Call on the Obama administration to put an end to the worst practices.

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