DATA SHOW DECREASE IN THE SALES OF VETERINARY ANTIMICROBIALS
The 9th European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption (ESVAC) report, published by EMA in October 2019 and reporting 2017 sales data for 31 participating countries, showed encouraging results on the sales of veterinary antibiotics. For the 25 countries that contributed data between 2011 and 2017, the sales of antibiotics for animal use decreased overall by 32%. The report is used by risk assessors and risk managers in Member States as a reference for antimicrobial policies and for guidance on the responsible use of antimicrobials.
While the situation across EU Member States remains variable, the report gives reason for optimism that the substantial reduction in the sales of antimicrobials for food-producing species observed in some countries indicates the potential for a similar decrease in others, especially in those where consumption is still high.
The ESVAC network has grown from nine countries reporting data for its first report published in 2011 to 31 countries from the European Economic Area and Switzerland providing data from 2017 in the report published in 2019.
Reduction in sales is the result of combined efforts of veterinarians, farmers, other actors in the livestock sector, EU Member States, the European Commission and EMA. National campaigns for prudent use of antibiotics in animals, sales targets and restriction of use of some antimicrobials in food-producing animals, as well as EU guidance, have helped to reduce the sales of veterinary antimicrobials across Europe.
RESPONSIBLE USE OF ANTIBIOTICS IN ANIMALS PROTECTS PEOPLE AND ANIMALS
In 2019, EMA launched a public consultation on its updated scientific advice on the categorisation of antimicrobials. The scientific advice ranks antibiotics by considering both the risk that their use in animals causes to public health through the possible development of AMR and the need to use them in veterinary medicine.
The update took into account the experience gained since the initial publication of the categorisation of antimicrobials in 2014. It now addresses all classes of antibiotics, including those classified as Critically Important Antimicrobials (CIA) for human health by the World Health Organization. The classification comprises four categories, from A to D: Avoid (A), Restrict (B), Caution (C) and Prudence (D).
Veterinarians are encouraged to check and consider EMA’s updated scientific advice on the categorisation of antibiotics when prescribing these medicines for animals in their care. The categorisation can also be used as a tool for the preparation of treatment guidelines.
A JOINT ENDEAVOUR
The above-mentioned scientific advice was prepared by the Antimicrobial Advice Ad Hoc Expert Group (AMEG), comprising representatives and experts from the CVMP and the CVMP’s Antimicrobials Working Party, the CHMP and the CHMP’s Infectious Diseases Working Party, the EFSA, the ECDC, and the Joint Interagency Antimicrobial Consumption and Resistance Analysis (JIACRA) working group. It was adopted by both CVMP and CHMP in December 2019 in line with EMA support for a ‘One Health’ approach that promotes close and integrated cooperation between human and veterinary medicine.