Sales of veterinary antibiotics continue to decline in most European countries

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14/10/2016

Sales of veterinary antibiotics continue to decline in most European countries

Quality of data improves as 29 countries collect and provide information

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has published today the sixth report on the sales of veterinary antibiotics in Europe, highlighting a continuing downward trend between 2011 and 2014.

28 countries from the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA) plus Switzerland have reported data to the European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption (ESVAC) for the year 2014, three more than in the previous year. In addition, the overall quality of sales data has improved throughout the years. The trends give reassurance that Member States continue to adopt a more responsible attitude towards the use of antibiotics in animals.

The report covers the period between 2011 and 2014. A total of 25 countries have provided data for the entire timespan. A decrease of 2.4% in total sales (mg/ population correction unit – PCU, PCU meaning the estimated weight of livestock and slaughtered animals) of antimicrobial veterinary products was observed between those years, despite a considerable increase in one of the European countries in which the most sales were registered due to an improvement in data collection system. In 24 of these countries that provided data for this four-year period a decrease of 12% was noted.

The substantial decline in the sales of antimicrobials for food-producing animals observed in some countries indicates that there is also a potential for a decrease in other countries. Despite low overall decrease in sales of veterinary antimicrobial products, data demonstrate that actions taken in the fight against antimicrobial resistance by the Member States are making a difference. Many countries are focusing on local actions to further reduce antimicrobial consumption and hence, resistance.

The sales data are collected annually as part of the ESVAC project, which is a partnership between the national authorities throughout the European Union (EU) and is coordinated by EMA.

Users can also carry out their own searches and analyses and create charts, maps or graphs tailored to their needs by using the ESVAC interactive database, which was launched in 2015. This database has been redesigned to make it easier to interpret the available data and now it includes information from 2010. ESVAC data are now widely used as reference figures in relation to antimicrobial consumption by animals in Europe.

The ESVAC project was launched in April 2010 by EMA 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. The ESVAC report is issued every year and is used by risk assessors and risk managers in Member States to inform antimicrobial policy and the responsible use of antimicrobials.

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