Collecting high-quality data on antibiotic use in animals in support of the fight against antimicrobial resistance

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07/04/2016

Collecting high-quality data on antibiotic use in animals in support of the fight against antimicrobial resistance

EMA launches public consultation on ESVAC strategy for 2016-2020

Availability of reliable and objective data on the use of antimicrobials in animals is essential to inform European countries in developing effective policies to fight antimicrobial resistance. The draft 'Vision and Strategy of the European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption (ESVAC)', for 2016-2020, published today for a three-month public consultation, aims to reinforce this approach by further supporting the collection and analysis of robust data.

Each year, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) publishes a report with sales figures of antimicrobials in animals collected by the ESVAC activity. The first report covering the period 2005-2009 included data from nine countries. The latest report, published in October 2015, included information on 26 countries from the European Economic Area (EEA), accounting for approximately 95% of the food-producing animal population in the region.

For the period 2016-20, ESVAC will continue collecting and publishing overall sales data from as many EU/EEA countries as possible. With the addition of data from Croatia, Romania and Switzerland in the report to be published in 2016, the objective to include data from all EEA countries is already close to being achieved.

ESVAC also aims to bring together the best available European expertise to promote harmonisation in the methodologies used to collect and analyse data on consumption of antimicrobials in animals. In the coming years, it will provide guidance to support the collection of data on the use of antimicrobials per species, with a specific focus on the three major food-producing species (pigs, poultry and cattle).

To allow a more accurate estimate of the exposure to antimicrobials by animal species and thus reinforce the robustness of the analysis of the data, ESVAC is establishing Defined Daily Doses for animals (DDDvet) and Defined Course Doses for animals (DCDvet). EMA will publish the values for these DDDvets and DCDvets in the coming months.

This will in the future enable the analysis of trends in use of antimicrobials per animal species at a European level using data that is standardised between countries. Such data is of great value to help policymakers in formulating evidence-based policies to minimise the risks from use of antimicrobials based on data on the actual use of antimicrobials in animals.

Comments on this strategy are invited until 30 June 2016. They should to be sent to vet-guidelines@ema.europa.eu using this template.

Antimicrobial resistance is an increasingly important and urgent concern for both human and animal health. EMA works with its EU and international partners on a number of initiatives aiming to limit the development of resistance. ESVAC is one of the three main areas of the Agency's contribution to the European and global effort, focusing on the monitoring and analysis of data on antimicrobials to guide policy and research. EMA also works to support the development of new treatments and to promote responsible use of antimicrobials.

The ESVAC activity is a cooperation between the national authorities throughout the EU and is coordinated by EMA. It started in April 2010 following a request from the European Commission to develop a harmonised approach to the collection and reporting of data from EU Member States on the use of antimicrobials in animals.

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EMA's response to antimicrobial resistance - infographic

Antimicrobial resistance infographic