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Reduction in Veterinary Antibiotic Use in EU

24 October 2013

EU - The European Medicines Agency has published its latest report on sales of veterinary antimicrobials in 25 countries in 2011. Nineteen of the 20 countries that provided sales data in both 2010 and 2011 reported a decrease in sales of between 0.4 and 28 per cent.

The report, which is one of the main deliverables of the European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption (ESVAC) project based at the EMA, presents standardised, aggregated sales data on veterinary antimicrobial agents.

A total of 25 European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) countries have submitted data to the EMA, marking a further improvement to the 2010 report, as these countries account for approximately 95 per cent of the food-producing animal population in the EU and EEA.

The report highlights that 19 of the 20 countries that provided data to the ESVAC project in both 2010 and 2011 reported a decrease in sales in 2011, ranging from 0.4 per cent to 28 per cent.

While it is premature to consider this as representing a definitive trend, it is a positive sign at this early stage of reporting. If it continues in future years, it could suggest that initiatives such as responsible-use campaigns, restrictions of use, increased awareness of the threat of antimicrobial resistance and the setting of targets for use reduction in EU Member States are starting to have an impact in terms of reducing the overall sale of antimicrobials in the veterinary sector. Additional information on national programmes and campaigns on the responsible use of antimicrobial agents, and more years of experience collecting data from all EU/EEA countries, are required before firm conclusions can be drawn.


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"The report highlights that 19 of the 20 countries that provided data to the ESVAC project in both 2010 and 2011 reported a decrease in sales in 2011, ranging from 0.4 per cent to 28 per cent."

As recognised by the Committee for Medicinal Products for Veterinary Use (CVMP) in the CVMP strategy on antimicrobials 2011-2015, the responsible use of antimicrobial agents in veterinary medicine is a key factor in minimising the risk of the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance. Collecting accurate data on the sales of antimicrobial agents in food-producing animals is an essential first step to support the development and monitoring of policies to minimise the risk of antibiotic resistance in the food chain.

The report will be used by risk assessors and risk managers in Member States to inform antimicrobial policy and the responsible use of antimicrobials.

The report has been published alongside a revised ESVAC reflection paper on collecting data on consumption of antimicrobial agents per animal species, on technical units of measurement and indicators for reporting consumption of antimicrobial agents in animals.

The ESVAC project was launched by the EMA following a request from the European Commission to develop a harmonised approach to the collection and reporting of data on the use of antimicrobial agents in animals from EU Member states.

Further Reading

You can view the full report by clicking here.

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