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More good news on antibiotic use

16th Oct 2019 / By Rebecca Veale

Sales of antibiotics for use in animals in Europe fell by more than 32% between 2011 and 2017, with further reductions recorded in the UK.

The latest figures published in the European Surveillance Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption (ESVAC) report also showed that overall sales of antibiotics for food producing animals fell from 162.0 mg/PCU in 2011 to 109.3 mg/PCU in 2017 across the 25 member states which have contributed data since 2011.

ESVAC graph 19

Importantly, there were good reductions in some of the High Priority Critically Important Antibiotics (known as HP-CIAs) – sales of 3rd- and 4th-generation cephalosporins decreased by 20.9%, and fluoroquinolones decreased by 10.3%.

The data showed that the UK now has the fifth lowest mg/PCU of the 31 European countries, reporting sales of 32.5 mg/PCU in 2017.

This reflects the commitment made by those engaged in the targets set by each sector in 2017 to take a responsible approach to antibiotic use as part of the RUMA Targets Task Force, with the pig sector very much leading the way. Food production is very different in the countries with a lower figure than the UK (Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden), making it impossible to draw comparisons.

Sales for antibiotics have also decreased in many European countries which demonstrates the efforts being made across the continent. However, no other country has taken the sort of voluntary and collaborative approach to the responsible use of antibiotics that the UK has.

The ESVAC report publishes sales data for food producing animals collectively, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is exploring the potential to report on usage data and sales data by sector.

The EMA started collecting data from nine countries in 2005, which rose to 25 countries by 2011. Today 31 countries contribute their data for the annual report.