Responsible Use of Antibiotics in Animals Contributes to One Health Action

The EMA has been collecting data on sales of veterinary antibiotics for over ten years. During that time, thanks to continuous awareness-raising campaigns, training, and education, we have collectively managed to instil the practice of ‘Responsible Use’ of antibiotics in the animal sector. We are now at a point where antibiotic sales have fallen almost 47% on average across Europe. Sales of EMA priority veterinary antimicrobial classes* have also continued to fall, as have the sales of products mainly used for group treatment, with a decrease there of 49.5%.

Commenting on the latest ESVAC report from the European Medicines Agency, Roxane Feller AnimalhealthEurope Secretary General said:
“It is reassuring to see the continued responsible use of antibiotics in animal health reflected in the sales data collected by the EMA. Our recently published paper Trends in Animal Antibiotic Use – Europe looks at this data, and we take note that several countries report a period of steep declines in antibiotic sales which level off to a consistent level. This may reflect a state of ‘optimal use’ where prevention is optimised, but antibiotics remain necessary for treatment of bacterial disease that has evaded a farm’s defences.

We need to keep in mind that not all illness can be prevented, and antibiotics remain the only way to treat bacterial disease both in animals and in people. Therefore we need to keep up our efforts to increase preventive measures and improve animal husbandry, but targeting reductions in sales of antibiotics for animals alone will not be enough to achieve the objectives of EU policies and action plans to address AMR. As this year’s theme of European Antibiotics Awareness Day states we all need to ensure we are ‘Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together’”.

The stewardship and progress outlined in our Trends report is critical and, as highlighted by DG SANTE during the EAAD launch event, complementary action in human health is needed to make further progress in the years ahead. AMR can only be managed through a One Health approach that works across human, animal and environmental health.

* sales of quinolones decreased by 83.1%, polymyxins by 79.5%, 3rd- and 4th-generation cephalosporins by 37.8%, and fluoroquinolones by 14.2%.


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