Thank You FDA. Finally, We're Starting to Take Bacterial Resistance Seriously

Out today, news that manufacturers of antibacterial hand soaps eventually must demonstrate that their products are safe and more effective than plain soap and water if they want to keep them on the market, according to proposed regulations released today by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).


The regulations come just 5 days after the agency announced new guidelines that would phase out the use of some antibiotics to boost growth in animals raised for food. Both moves by the FDA seek to limit the spread of bacterial resistance to antibiotics, Sandra Kweder, MD, deputy director of the Office of New Drugs at the agency's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said during a press conference today.

"What are the benefits of using antibacterial products and how do they stack up against any potential risks, whether you're talking about livestock settings...or the settings of consumers and their kitchen?" said Dr. Kweder. "They're part of the larger framework of ensuring that there's a well-established benefit-and-risk assessment before these products are put out there widely for general use."

When it comes to antibacterial soaps, the FDA is worried about more than bacterial resistance. Dr. Kweder said that studies suggest that the 2 antibiotics commonly found in such soaps — triclosan in liquid soaps and triclocarban in solid soaps — could have hormonal effects