The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act, or PAMTA, is still alive but stalled due to lack of attention as Congress focuses on U.S. budget priorities. The legislation, which would eliminate certain uses of antimicrobials in livestock, was introduced to Congress earlier this year.

The bill, sponsored by U.S. House of Representatives member Louise Slaughter, (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, (D-Calif.), would phase out some uses of antibiotics in livestock such as growth promotion and disease prevention and control. PAMTA would also apply stringent limits on indications approved for new antibiotics.

“There’s little chance that the PAMTA bill will be approved on its own in 2011 with Congress so focused on budget considerations,” said Liz Wagstrom, DVM, chief veterinarian for the National Pork Producers Council. “There is a chance however, that PAMTA backers would seek to attach the legislation to another bill under consideration by Congress and try to get it passed that way.”

Wagstrom cites the Animal Drug User Fee Act legislation, as a possible vehicle PAMTA backers may attempt to use to attach their bill as an amendment.  ADUFA will come up for re-authorization in 2013.

Another vehicle which might be used for piggy-back approval of PAMTA is the 2012 Farm Bill, however that might not be as likely. That legislation falls under USDA oversight instead of the Food and Drug Administration, which oversees the approval and administration of antimicrobials used in production of food animals. “It would be difficult to attach PAMTA to the farm bill but obviously we will need to watch it closely,” said Wagstrom.