NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Becton Dickinson spent $250,000 in the first quarter of 2008 lobbying Congress to support more funding, research, and awareness of the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and other hospital-acquired infections, for which the company markets a molecular diagnostic test, according to a lobbying disclosure document.
The company paid three lobbyists to promote in the US House of Representatives and in the US Senate several MRSA and HAI-related bills. These bills provide funding for further study of MRSA, regulations for treating and screening for MRSA, and one would provide $30 million to the US Department of Education to help stop the spread of certain pathogens, including MRSA, in public schools.
Another congressional resolution designated the month of March 2008 “MRSA Awareness Month” in order to recognize the need continue to study the pathogen and to support the efforts of the healthcare community to prevent and treat the disease.
Franklin Lakes, NJ-based Becton Dickinson markets the GeneOhm MRSA assay, an in vitro molecular diagnostic cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration for detecting MRSA nasal colonization.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2005 more than 94,000 people in the US developed serious, invasive MRSA infections and around 18,650 people died during a hospital visit because of MRSA infections.
One bill, the MRSA Infection Prevention and Patient Protection Act, which was introduced and sponsored in the Senate by Senator Robert Menendez (D – NJ) would make all acute care hospitals screen patients who are entering intensive care units and “other high-risk hospital departments” for MRSA.
This bill also would offer best practices for handling MRSA and other antibiotic-resistant staphylococcus infections in hospital and would consider using Medicare to defray the costs of screening for and treating MRSA infections. That legislation has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.