European Medicines Agency publishes first report on sales of veterinary antimicrobial agents

News 19/09/2011

The European Medicines Agency today published its first PDF iconreport on sales of veterinary antimicrobial agents in Europe. The report, prepared by the European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption (ESVAC) project based at the Agency, presents standardised, aggregated sales data on veterinary antimicrobial agents for the period 2005-2009.

The report contains a harmonised analysis of sales in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

The report shows that tetracyclines, penicillins, and sulfonamides are the top three antimicrobial classes sold in tonnes, accounting for more than 80% of total sales.

Another finding is the substantial difference in the prescribing patterns of veterinary antimicrobial agents between countries. Generally, these variations may be due to differences between the countries in the market availability of veterinary antibacterial products per country, prices, risk-management measures implemented, the veterinarians' prescribing behaviour, animal production systems (e.g. veal as opposed to beef cattle on pasture) and the general situation with regard to infectious diseases.

The use of antimicrobials is one of the key risk factors for the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance. As a result, data on the usage of antimicrobials in food-producing and companion animals are essential for identifying and quantifying the risk of developing and spreading antibiotic resistance in the food-chain.

ESVAC is currently collecting detailed and standarised data for 2010 following a call for data sent to 22 European countries. The reports will be used by risk assessors and risk managers in member states to inform antimicrobial policy and responsible use of antimicrobials.

ESVAC was launched by the European Medicines Agency following a request from the European Commission to develop a harmonised approach for the collection and reporting of data on the use of antimicrobials in animals from the Member States.

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