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Bayer Urged to Take Chicken Antibiotic Off the Market - 2004-04-07


Doctors and environmental groups are calling on German drug maker Bayer to take an antibiotic used in chickens off the market. They say the drug is making human antibiotics less effective.

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration review found that using the drug Baytril in chickens is contributing to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and recommended banning the drug. Last month, an administrative law judge agreed.

But Bayer is appealing the decision. The company says the drug makes the food supply safer by killing germs that cause an avian respiratory disease.

Attorney Karen Florini with the group Environmental Defense says Bayer should follow the lead of Abbot Laboratories, which voluntarily pulled its version of the drug four years ago.

"Bayer should stop delaying, should go along with the clear scientific evidence that the Food and Drug Administration has gathered and that the administrative law judge has upheld," she said. "The responsible thing to do at this time is to take it off the market and acknowledge that it's more important to protect human health than to get every possible dime of profit out of this chicken drug."

Bayer has until mid-May to appeal the decision.