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Antibiotic sales in the UK continue to decline

29th Oct 2019 / By Rebecca Veale

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) has confirmed sales of antibiotics for use in food-producing animals have reduced by 53% in just four years between 2014 and 2018.

AB reduction

High Priority Critically Important Antibiotics (HP-CIAs) for use in food-producing animals also reduced from 0.26 mg/kg in 2017 to 0.21 mg/kg (19%) in 2018.

The sales data was announced by Kitty Healey at the RUMA conference and has been published in the Veterinary Antimicrobial Resistance and Sales Surveillance (VARSS) report, which is put together annually by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate.

The UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Christine Middlemiss, said: “A 53% reduction in sales of antibiotics for food-producing animals in just four years is a testament to the improvements industry and the veterinary profession have made in antibiotic stewardship, training and disease control. This is a great example of how real change can be achieved when Government and industry work together including through initiatives such as the Targets Task Force chaired by RUMA.

“The focus on infection prevention and control is key to reducing the need to treat with antibiotics and maintaining the UK’s world-leading standards in protecting animal health and biosecurity.”

The usage data published by AHDB earlier this year shows the continued reduction of antibiotic use in pigs.

AB 2

Lord Gardiner, Minister for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity, praised the work of producers in achieving the reductions achieved but iterated the journey continues.

“The magnitude of these continuing reductions in antibiotic sales, including the 68% reduction in sales of the highest priority critically important antibiotics for food producing species over the last four years, demonstrates how seriously our farming sectors take the threat of antibiotic resistance and have risen to the challenge. There is, however, more to do as we continue this fight against what is a truly global challenge.”