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Penicillin Allergy Testing

September 21, 2023
The AAAAI expressed thanks to Senators Marshall (R-KS) and Luján (D-NM) for their introduction of the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (PACCARB) Act (S. 2434). The legislation would continue important federal investments in the PACCARB to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and promote antibiotic stewardship into the future. Read the letter.

September 19, 2023
The AAAAI with others urged U.S. House of Representatives, Committee of Appropriations leadership to enact an omnibus appropriations package before the end of 2023 that fully funds domestic and global antimicrobial resistance (AMR) programs. Read the letter.

July 31, 2023
Penicillin Allergy Testing Should Be Performed Routinely in Patients with Self-Reported Penicillin Allergy. Read the AAAAI Position Statement.

February 22, 2022
The AAAAI has reached out to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) with this letter from Past-President David Lang, MD, FAAAAI, Chairman, Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and The Respiratory Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, to thank Sen. Brown for his leadership on antibiotic stewardship, and to offer to serve as a resource on the important role that penicillin allergy testing can play in this important issue. 

September 28, 2021
September 28 is National Penicillin Allergy Day. The AAAAI has sent this letter to 667 offices on Capitol Hill to share information about how penicillin allergy testing can improve patient outcomes, reduce healthcare spending, and help fight antimicrobial resistance. For more information, visit the AAAAI Penicillin Allergy Center, or contact You can also view the video from the our message to Congress here.

June 22, 2021
AAAAI supports Cures 2.0

Reps. DeGette (D-CO) and Upton (R-MI) released a discussion draft of their Cures 2.0 Act which builds on their previous 21st Century Cures Act, signed in to law in 2016. Cures 2.0 includes more than 500 provisions to increase biomedical innovation and improve delivery of breakthrough therapies. Notably, the bill would establish the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), a medical research agency housed within NIH responsible for accelerating new medical breakthroughs; improve Medicare coverage of innovative technologies; increase diversity in clinical trials; expand use of real-world evidence by the FDA; increase access to telehealth services; and, spur development and appropriate use of novel antibiotics with the inclusion of the PASTEUR Act, which AAAAI supports with its partners through the Stakeholders Forum on Antimicrobial Resistance (S-FAR).
May 20, 2021
Antimicrobial resistance focus of Senate appropriations outreach

The AAAAI sent an email encouraging senators to join a Dear Colleague letter asking to fund additional efforts by the CDC, BARDA and the NIH to address the growing risk of antimicrobial resistance. The AAAAI’s request included information on the important role that increasing verification of patient-reported penicillin allergy testing can and should play in addressing appropriate prescribing of antibiotics.

September 28, 2020
National Penicillin Allergy Day

The AAAAI continues its leading role in advocacy for penicillin allergy testing as a public health measure to combat antimicrobial resistance. We sent a letter to 715 members of Congressional staff on Monday, September 28, National Penicillin Allergy Day, to share important information on the issue and our recent letter to CMS urging that Medicare Conditions of Participation include penicillin allergy verification as a part of antibiotic stewardship.

September 9, 2020
The AAAAI with the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) wrote to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to urge that it require US hospitals include verification of penicillin allergy as part of its mandatory antibiotic stewardship programs (ASPs).

April 15, 2020
The AAAAI has sent a letter to the FDA encouraging use of some COVID-19 emergency supplemental funding to further advance penicillin allergy testing as an important component of antibiotic stewardship.

April 8, 2020
AAAAI joins COVID-19 outreach on antibiotic stewardship

As a member of the Stakeholder Forum on Antimicrobial Resistance, the AAAAI joined a letter to the CDC urging increased antibiotic stewardship surveillance and to Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to request additional support for antibiotic research and development, in our ongoing efforts to support antibiotic stewardship.

December 19, 2019
AAAAI lobbying results in Congressional statement on penicillin allergy in appropriations agreement

Lobbying efforts by the AAAAI to advance penicillin allergy testing as a means of antibiotic stewardship have resulted in a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) funding directive included in the appropriations agreement reached this week to avoid a government shutdown. The package “encourages FDA to accelerate the review of penicillin allergy skin tests to address the serious and growing problem of antibiotic resistance.”

October 2, 2019
AAAAI President’s Op-Ed on Penicillin Allergy Published in The Hill

An op-ed from AAAAI President David M. Lang, MD, FAAAAI, on the important role verification of patient-reported penicillin allergy plays in antimicrobial resistance was published by The Hill on October 2. The Hill is widely considered to be one of the most important media outlets focusing on national policy issues and politics, making the publication of this op-ed a significant achievement in our ongoing advocacy efforts on the issue.

September 19, 2019  
Senate Appropriations Report Language Supports Penicillin Allergy Testing

In response to AAAAI advocacy efforts, the Senate Appropriations Committee has included language to encourage the Department of Health and Human Services to educate the public and healthcare providers regarding the importance of penicillin allergy testing in the fight against antimicrobial resistance in its report language for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriation bill for 2020.  The AAAAI is extremely pleased to see report language addressing the issue directly, as requested by AAAAI leaders during our visits on Capitol Hill in May and vigorously pursued with the Senate Appropriations Committee since then. View more information on this and other important AAAAI appropriations efforts.

July 8, 2019
With others, the AAAAI recently expressed support for Developing an Innovative Strategy for Antimicrobial Resistant Microorganisms (DISARM) Act (S. 1712) to address deep concerns about the public health crisis of antibiotic resistance and the urgent need for new antibiotics, as well as policies to promote and monitor their appropriate use. View the letter.

March 2018
AAAAI Endorses STAAR Act

The AAAAI recently endorsed in coalition with others the reintroduction of the Strategies to Address Antimicrobial Resistance (STAAR) Act, sponsored by Senator Sherrod Brown. Antimicrobial resistance is a complex problem that requires a multi-faceted solution including investments in surveillance and data collection, antimicrobial stewardship and research.

Overuse and misuse of antimicrobial drugs drives the development of resistance. The AAAAI advocates for the increased use of penicillin allergy testing to mitigate the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance and to ensure the continued availability of effective therapeutics for the treatment of bacterial infections.

Senators Send Letter to Secretary Azar Regarding Penicillin Allergy
AAAAI President Robert A. Wood, MD, FAAAAI, discussed the role that verification of patient-reported penicillin allergy can play in the antimicrobial resistance crisis with Senator Benjamin Cardin during a Congressional visit last fall. That discussion lead to a letter sent by Senator Cardin, and joined by Senators Orrin Hatch and Michael Bennet, to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Alex Azar, addressing the issue. The letter calls for HHS to engage in the following:

•    Development of guidelines or protocols to increase penicillin allergy testing and desensitization
•    Implement recommendations from the 2015 National Institutes of Health report on drug allergy
•    Support development of hospital- and community-based programs educating patients and providers, and
•    Encourage use of quality measures and other federal safety standards to increase verification of penicillin allergy.

Encouraging verification of patient-reported penicillin allergy as a means of combatting antimicrobial resistance is an advocacy priority of the AAAAI. We will continue to keep you updated.

Presidential Advisory Council on Combatting Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (PACCARB)

U.S. Stakeholder Forum on Antimicrobial Resistance (S-FAR)

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) advocates for the increased use of penicillin allergy testing to mitigate the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance and to ensure the continued availability of effective therapeutics for the treatment of bacterial infections. As clinicians dedicated to the advancement of the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology for optimal patient care, the AAAAI recommends patients who believe they have a penicillin allergy or who have documentation in their health record regarding a penicillin allergy should undergo skin prick testing to verify if they are truly allergic to penicillin, before an alternative non-penicillin antibiotic is prescribed. As many as nine of 10 patients who are tested actually do not have an allergy to penicillin.

According to published research, without testing, an unverified history of penicillin allergy can contribute to longer hospitalizations, higher costs, greater risk for adverse effects of alternative (non beta lactam) antibiotics, and increased rates of serious antibiotic resistant infections such as C.difficile and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Penicillin allergy testing is safe, effective, and can be performed even in critically ill patients and pregnant women.

As part of the American Board of Internal Medicine Choosing Wisely® program, the AAAAI recommended in 2014 that physicians should not overuse non-beta-lactam antibiotics in patients with a history of penicillin allergy, without an appropriate evaluation.  

The AAAAI has included in its Quality Clinical Data Registry a quality measure on appropriate removal or confirmation of indication of penicillin allergy from a patient’s medical record. A variation of this measure has been shared with a national work group developing quality measures designed to combat antimicrobial resistance.

The AAAAI advocates that federal policies to address the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance should:
• Establish a national strategy working through the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other Federal agencies to encourage penicillin allergy testing to reduce the large number of patients mislabeled as allergic to penicillin;
• Develop and adopt quality measures, Medicare Conditions of Participation (CoPs), and other federal health and safety standards that target a variety of settings to encourage correct identification of penicillin allergies; and
• Implement the recommendations contained within the Report from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Workshop on Drug Allergy

In addition, the AAAAI continues to promote the increased use of penicillin allergy testing in traditional and social media.

The AAAAI Board of Directors identified penicillin allergy testing as an advocacy priority stating, “Without such testing, there is an unrealized opportunity to improve healthcare outcomes and reduce rising rates of antibiotic resistance.”

Presidential Advisory Council on Combatting Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (PACCARB)
The AAAAI submitted this information for the May 3 & 4, 2017 meeting of the Presidential Advisory Council on Combatting Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.U.S. Stakeholder Forum on Antimicrobial Resistance (S-FAR)

AAAAI Among Sponsors of Hill Briefing on Antibiotic Resistance, New Report
AAAAI was one of the sponsors of a Hill Briefing hosted by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (ISDA), in collaboration with the U.S. Stakeholder Forum on Antimicrobial Resistance (S-FAR), of which the AAAAI is a member organization. Speakers included the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s acting director, Anne Schuchat, MD, who presented at the U.S. Capitol about the need for continued action and investment to contain and address the urgent threat of antibiotic resistance to protect Americans.

IDSA, with support from several S-FAR member organizations including the AAAAI, also released the Faces of Antimicrobial Resistance report—featuring important and personal stories of patients and their families who battle the threat of antibiotic resistance every day. AAAAI continues to advocate for the increased use of penicillin allergy testing to mitigate the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance and to ensure the continued availability of effective therapeutics for the treatment of bacterial infections.

September 6, 2018
Penicillin Allergy Testing Should Be Performed Routinely in Patients with Self-Reported Penicillin Allergy.  Read the AAAAI Position Statement here.