New WHO guidelines on medically important antimicrobials in food producing animals lack One Health reasoning

The animal medicines industry in Europe is committed to playing an active role in the global health challenge of antibiotic resistance, which impacts both human and animal health. AnimalhealthEurope is therefore disappointed to see a lack of appreciation for the One Health approach in the newly published WHO Guidelines On Use Of Medically Important Antimicrobials In Food-Producing Animals.

“In our opinion, this guideline largely ignores the needs of animals in terms of health and welfare, and the wider impact of healthy animals in terms of food safety, disease transmission, and sustainable farming”, commented Roxane Feller, AnimalhealthEurope Secretary General. 

“Referring to previous communications from the WHO which state that their list of medically important antimicrobials should be revised on a regular basis in a collaborative and coordinated approach by FAO, OIE and WHO, we note that these new guidelines appear to largely ignore the OIE list of Antimicrobial Agents of Veterinary Importance. We believe that the WHO list is insufficiently detailed and does not adequately look at the fundamental need for antibiotic treatment in animals. AnimalhealthEurope recalls also its support for the EMA’s One Health approach to the categorisation of critically important antibiotics which carefully considers the needs of animal health and welfare whilst safeguarding public health.”

“Some recommendations* appear to contradict the OIE list and we strongly feel that such a single-focused approach is out of touch with the progress made through the EU One Health action plan against AMR”, concluded Ms. Feller. 


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Notes for Editors

·Recommendation 4b of the WHO guideline could effectively be interpreted as a call for banning the use of Cephalosporins (3rd,4th and 5th generation), Macrolides, Polymyxins and Quinolones in food producing animals. This goes in contradiction to the OIE list which categorises Macrolides, 3rd and 4th generation Cephalosporins and 2nd generation Quinolones as Very Critically Important antibiotics for veterinary medicine

·AnimalhealthEurope is the representative body of manufacturers of veterinary medicines, vaccines and other animal health products in Europe. It represents innovators and generics alike, as well as large, medium-sized and small companies. AnimalhealthEurope promotes a single market in veterinary medicines across the EU ensuring the availability of medicines to protect the health and welfare of animals.

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