Why you should worry about antibiotic-resistant superbugs

Consumer Reports CEO Marta Tellado attends White House Forum on this growing crisis

Published: June 04, 2015 07:15 PM

Consumer Reports President and CEO Marta Tellado

Representatives of some 150 organizations, including Consumer Reports, gathered at the White House on June 2, 2015 for a forum on how to rein in the rampant and potentially deadly overuse of antibiotics, from doctor's offices to farms. Consumer Reports President and CEO Marta Tellado reports back from the event.  

Q. Why should consumers care about antibiotic-resistant bacteria?

A. This is the public health crisis of our generation. What we know is that the more antibiotics we use, the more we lose the ability of those drugs to fight bacteria. And what we know right now is that we’re breeding superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics. We have two million people that are affected by bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, and 23,000 people die as result of the declining efficacy of these vital drugs.

Q. What did the White House Forum accomplish?

A. I was encouraged by some of the calls for more transparency around data and infection rates, especially in hospitals and nursing homes. I think consumers really need to know what those infection rates are. And so that was a very positive development.

Q. What should consumers do if they’re concerned about this problem?

A. Well, I think you have to have a conversation with your physician when you’re prescribed antibiotics. Also, be cautious. A lot of antibiotics are prescribed for the common cold and sore throats and ear infections, which are viral, and antibiotics aren’t useful for those kinds of infections.

Q. What is Consumer Reports doing about this important issue?

A. Well, we’re going to launch a three-part investigative series in Consumer Reports magazine that really looks at the overuse of antibiotics and the misuse of antibiotics. And that has spurred a rise in infection rates in hospitals. And we’re also going to look at the use of antibiotics in the meat supply.

Click on the player below to hear Consumer Reports President and CEO Marta Tellado talk about the problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Read about Consumer Reports' participation at the June 2, 2015, White House Forum on antibiotics. See our complete guide to antibiotic-resistant bacteria and join our fight to stop the spread of superbugs.  

Follow @ConsumerReports fight to stop the spread of superbugs on Twitter and Facebook. #SlamSuperbugs

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