U.S. & Global Policies

U.S. Policies and Resources

Antibiotic resistance is a major public health threat that requires action from all stakeholders, including government. Below is a compilation of key government activities, guidelines and policies related to antibiotic use in humans and food animals in the U.S. with the goal of improving antibiotic stewardship and reducing antibiotic resistance. While there has been progress in creating policies and strategies to curb overuse and misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals, there is more work to do to truly combat the threat of antibiotic resistance.

The Antimicrobial Resistance Challenge

On September 25 2018, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched the Antimicrobial Resistance Challenge at the United Nations General Assembly meeting. The challenge calls on governments, private industry and civil society to commit to taking actionable steps that further progress in combating antibiotic resistance around the world.

Learn more about ARAC's commitment.

Learn more about the challenge.

National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

In 2014, the White House announced the National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. The plan outlines five main goals for combating antibiotic resistance. Each goal has accompanying milestones to be achieved by 2020. The goals serve as a roadmap for the federal agencies working to preserve antibiotic efficacy. The following documents give detailed information on the strategy and goals:

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA)
Key U.S. Government Reports on Antibiotic Resistance
State Legislation

In 2015, California became the first state in the United States to pass legislation that goes far beyond federal rules. On January 1, 2018, California will enact Senate Bill 27, first-of-its-kind legislation, which will require a veterinarian's prescription for use of antimicrobial drugs and ban non-therapeutic antimicrobial uses for disease prevention and growth promotion in livestock. The bill also requires the California Department of Food and Agriculture to develop a program to gather information on antibiotic use in meat production. It also puts livestock antibiotic use under veterinary oversight and calls for the development of guidelines and best management practices for the use of antibiotics in livestock. 

In May 2017, Maryland adopted a law (Keep Antibiotics Effective Act/ SB422/HB602) banning routine antibiotic use for livestock on farms within the state. Unfortunately, the new law does not require the state to collect data to determine if the new rule is helping to reduce unnecessary uses of antibiotics in food animal production. Organizations working on this issue, including ARAC, have promised to continue to pursue legislation mandating data collection in 2018. The law will take effect in October 2017 and farmers in Maryland will have until January 1, 2018 to comply with the law. 

Global Policies and Resources

Antibiotic resistance is a global problem. Dangerous bacteria spread rapidly around our interconnected world. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria picked up in one country are just a plane ride away from finding their way to another. As a result, all countries must take aggressive action in order to protect antibiotics from overuse and slow the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Below are key resources that outline international efforts to protect life-saving antibiotics.

United Nations

In September 2016, the United Nations (UN) convened the first ever, high-level meeting on antimicrobial resistance. The primary objective of the meeting was to gather national, regional and international political commitment to address the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance. Leading up to the meeting, public health advocates around the world urged the UN and all of its member countries to work together to ensure meaningful progress and guide the global change needed to address antimicrobial resistance. The meeting concluded with the first ever UN declaration on the importance of combating antibiotic resistance that was signed by 193 member states. 

World Health Organization

In May 2015, the World Health Assembly (WHO) endorsed a global action plan to tackle antimicrobial resistance, including antibiotic resistance. The global action plan sets out five strategic objectives: to improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance; to strengthen knowledge through surveillance and research; to reduce the incidence of infection; to optimize the use of antimicrobial agents; and develop the economic case for sustainable investment that takes account of the needs of all countries, and increase investment in new medicines, diagnostic tools, vaccines and other interventions.


For more from WHO on antimicrobial resistance, visit the World Health Organization website.

Additional Key Resources

For specific antimicrobial resistance strategies and action plans for European Union member states and Canada, visit the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Interactive Tools
Model Data Collection & Reporting Systems