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PCAST releases ‘Combating Antibiotic Resistance’ report to POTUS

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON — As the evolution of antibiotic resistance in bacteria occurs at an alarming rate, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology announced that it released to the president last week a report, called "Combating Antibiotic Resistance."

The report was released simultaneously with a National Strategy on Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria, as well as with a Presidential Executive Order emphasizing the importance of addressing this growing challenge

The evolution of antibiotic resistance in bacteria is outpacing the development of new countermeasures. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the annual domestic impact of antibiotic-resistant infections to the U.S. economy has been estimated at $20 billion in excess direct healthcare costs, with additional costs to society for lost productivity as high as $35 billion per year and 8 million additional days in hospitals. The safety of many modern medical procedures — including cancer chemotherapy, complex surgery, dialysis for renal disease, and organ transplantation — relies on effective antibiotics. These interventions become significantly more dangerous as bacterial resistance rises. Indeed, the World Health Organization recently warned that we risk entering a “post-antibiotic” era unless we act now.

PCAST recommends measures to strengthen antibiotic stewardship, boost surveillance and facilitate the development of new drugs, diagnostics and vaccines to combat this growing crisis.

Responsible stewardship of antibiotics requires identifying the microbe responsible for disease (ideally with rapid and inexpensive diagnostics); administering the most effective antibiotic at the appropriate dose, route, and time; and discontinuing antibiotic therapy when it is no longer needed. Optimizing the use of our current antibiotics in human health care and animal agriculture will extend the longevity of these life-saving medicines and maximize their benefits, PCAST stated.
 
Increased surveillance for antibiotic-resistant bacteria will enable more effective responses to resistant strains, support earlier identification of outbreaks and limit the spread of resistant organisms. Improved surveillance will help address fundamental questions of where resistant infections originate, practices that contribute to emergence and how resistant microbes are being transmitted, according to PCAST.

Even with improved stewardship and surveillance, PCAST said that it is critical to develop new antibiotics, diagnostics, vaccines and other interventions at a rate that outpaces the emergence of resistant microbes. A robust antibiotic pipeline is essential for creating new antibiotics to replace those being steadily lost to antibiotic resistance. Establishing this pipeline and successfully addressing the rise in antibiotic resistant bacteria will require coordination across governmental, academic, health-related, agricultural and private sectors.

PCAST added that, in the fight against microbes, no permanent victory is possible: As new treatments are developed, organisms will evolve new ways to become resistant. This reality underscores how essential it is to embark on a course of action that will ensure an effective and enduring arsenal of antibiotics. Committing to combating antibiotic-resistant microbes will support patient care, economic growth, agriculture and economic and national security. By taking the recommended steps, the United States and global community will continue to reap the benefits of these medicines.

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Popchips announces first television campaign

BY Ryan Chavis

LOS ANGELES — Popchips, a popped snack company, announced that it has launched its first national television campaign called "The Popchips Way," in which the company will share with consumers the popped process that leads to the creation of the snack.
 
The brand partnered with agency Dandelion to produce the new ad spots. Dandelion leveraged its roster of noted television writers from successful sitcoms to write scripts that incorporate sharp dialogue. 
 
The Popchips brand has enjoyed steady growth thanks to celebrity seeding iniatives and grassroots marketing, the company said. The brand also boasts the highest social engagement in its category, Popchips said, citing Mintel research. It will upgrade its social media presence to expand on the new campaign content.
 
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Mintel: Nearly half of black consumers interested in anti-aging hair care

BY Antoinette Alexander

CHICAGO — Black consumers may under-index when it comes to facial anti-aging products, but the opposite is true when it comes to trying anti-aging hair products, according to new research from Mintel.

According to Mintel, 42% of black consumers have tried or would be interested in trying anti-aging hair products. However, just 36% of black consumers (versus 48% of white consumers) report using anti-aging facial moisturizers and 41% don’t use any type of anti-aging facial skin care product at all — a number that drops to 35% for white consumers.

Furthermore, 30% of black consumers have used or are interested in hair care products that treat baldness and thinning, while 46% have used or would be willing to try color or tint products.

“Historically, black consumers are not necessarily looking for the fountain of youth. They tend to embrace aging more so than other consumers. Those who use anti-aging products are motivated by different factors. In most cases, blacks aren’t typically proactive when it comes to anti-aging, rather they are very reactionary. But in the hair care category, it’s different,” stated Tonya Roberts, multicultural analyst at Mintel. “The movement toward natural hair — whether natural hair weave or all-natural styles — is making blacks a lot more conscious about the ingredients they put in their hair. They are looking for ingredients that are natural, restore damaged hair, and make their hair healthy — and they’re looking for results. Anti-aging products that include natural ingredients and promise to deliver on restoration are sure to appeal to black shoppers.”

Mintel estimates that the black hair care market (defined as hair care products formulated for and specifically marketed to black consumers) is up 2.5% from last year and is estimated to reach $774 million by the close of 2014. Shampoo, conditioner, styling products, and hair color segments have experienced steady increases, which may be because of fewer salon visits, availability of black brands in mainstream stores and the natural hair trend. Two-thirds (67%) of black women and 77% of black consumers overall have worn a natural hairstyle in the past year, suggesting that the trend toward natural styles shows no signs of slowing down, Mintel stated.

Two thirds (66%) of those surveyed plan to wear a natural hairstyle within the next year. Naturally, men are more likely than women to say this, but 58% of women say they plan to wear a natural hairstyle. About one-third (27%) are planning to go totally natural (no relaxer, color, or extensions), and 17% will add color to their natural hair. One-in-10 women are planning to wear twists (11%), natural braids (10%) or long locs (10%).

“Despite the steady growth the black hair care market has enjoyed in recent years, and the proliferation of brands for natural and chemically treated black hair, many black consumers still struggle with finding products that work well. Part of the challenge is that many companies aren’t marketing their products to blacks using the right casting and culturally relevant messaging. There’s an opportunity for manufacturers and retailers to spur growth by addressing some of the untapped markets – men, children, anti-aging products, multiracial, healthier straightening options, etc.,” Roberts said.

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