European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption (ESVAC)

The European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption (ESVAC) project collects information on how antimicrobial medicines are used in animals across the European Union (EU). This type of information is essential to identify possible risk factors that could lead to the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance in animals.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) started this project in September 2009, following a request from the European Commission to develop a harmonised approach for the collection and reporting of data on the use of antimicrobial agents in animals from EU and European Economic Area (EEA) Member States.

Voluntary participation in the ESVAC project has increased from 9 to 31 reporting countries since 2010.

Interactive ESVAC database

The interactive ESVAC database allows users to access a summary of the specific ESVAC data they are interested in, including data for a specific country or sales of a particular antimicrobial class.

Users can use the database to customise charts, maps and graphs.

Access the database directly via the button below:

ESVAC database access button

Annual report on sales of veterinary antimicrobial medicinal products

The annual ESVAC report presents data on the volume of sales of veterinary antimicrobial medicinal products collected from the 31 countries of the ESVAC network. It also highlights key changes and trends over time.

Scientists, veterinarians and other animal healthcare professionals, risk assessors and policy makers in Member States use the results of the annual report as a reference for antimicrobial policies and for guidance on the responsible use of antimicrobials.

ESVAC 2021 report

The latest ESVAC report, published in November 2022, shows that sales of antimicrobials for use in food-producing animals in Europe fell considerably since 2011. 

Overall, most participating countries have been successful in reducing the use of antimicrobials in food-producing animals. The latest results show the potential in other countries as well.

For the 25 countries providing sales data continuously between 2011 and 2021, sales fell by 47% over this period.

Sales have fallen particularly sharply for antimicrobials in AMEG Category B, also classified by the World Health Organization as critically important in human medicine:

ANTIMICROBIAL CLASSESREDUCTION IN TOTAL SALES SINCE 2011
3rd and 4th generation cephalosporinsBy 38%
PolymyxinsBy 80%
FluoroquinolonesBy 14%
Other quinolonesBy 83%

Since 2011, sales decreased in 22 countries by a range between 5% and 65%. However, 1 country saw only a minor reduction in sales while 2 countries saw sales increase by more than 5%. 

Figure showing current progress of the Farm to Fork Strategy target of reducing total sales of antimicrobials for farmed animals and aquaculture

The EU Farm to Fork strategy aims to bring a 50% reduction in total sales of antimicrobials for farmed animals and aquaculture by 2030 compared with 2018 figures.

By 2021, EU Member States had already achieved around one third of this overall reduction target, as shown in the enclosed visual.

The metrics featured for the years 2018 (118,3), 2021 (96,6) and 2030 (59,2) show sales in miligram of active substance sold by population correction unit (mg / PCU).

For more information, see Population correction unit.

Related information materials

Visual guide: Overview of the ESVAC project and its key achievements
ESVAC infographic

Trends by country

An overview of country-specific trends in the volume of sales of veterinary antimicrobial medicinal products between 2010 and 2021 is available in the country reports below.

Each one of the 31 countries has provided information corresponding to their data, and each section presents changes of sales by antimicrobial class, along with a brief summary and discussion of the data. 

Country reports on sales trends (2010-2021)

Austrian flag   PDF icon Austria

Belgian flag   PDF icon Belgium

Bulgarian flag   PDF icon Bulgaria

Croatian flag   PDF icon Croatia

Cypriot flag   PDF icon Cyprus

Chezian flag   PDF icon Czechia

Danish flag   PDF icon Denmark

Estonian flag   PDF icon Estonia

   PDF icon Finland

   PDF icon France

German flag   PDF icon Germany

Greek flag   PDF icon Greece

Hungarian flag   PDF icon Hungary

Icelandic flag   PDF icon Iceland

Irish flag   PDF icon Ireland

Italian flag   PDF icon Italy

   PDF icon Latvia

   PDF icon Lithuania

Luxembourg flag   PDF icon Luxembourg

Maltese flag   PDF icon Malta

Dutch flag   PDF icon Netherlands

Norwegian flag   PDF icon Norway

Polish flag   PDF icon Poland

Portugese flag   PDF icon Portugal

   PDF icon Romania

   PDF icon Slovakia

Slovenian flag   PDF icon Slovenia

Spanish flag   PDF icon Spain

Swedish flag   PDF icon Sweden

Switzerland flag    PDF icon Switzerland

UK flag   PDF icon United Kingdom

 

Reporting of antimicrobial sales and use in animals (updated)

Update: Guidance is available to assist national competent authorities with their implementation of updated legislative requirements for reporting antimicrobial sales and use in animals.

This is in line with Article 57 of the Regulation (EU) 2019/6, Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2021/578 and Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2022/209.

These documents contain technical requirements that Members States need in order to collect data on antimicrobials, as foreseen in the legislation. 

They were developed by EMA together with experts from the ESVAC network.

The Agency will update these documents further over the next years, to reflect the collection of new data.

Stratifying sales data by animal species

In July 2018, EMA launched a project for stratifying sales data of veterinary antimicrobials by animal species. This enables an approximate estimation of consumption by different species, by allocating a proportion of the total sales to each species a veterinary antimicrobial is used in.

EMA has published a protocol for collecting sales data for stratification:

The protocol is based on ongoing experience with a pilot project with six volunteer Member States that has been testing this methodology and possible approaches to be used in EU/EEA Member States.

Sales data reporting form and protocol

To obtain standardised data, participating countries provide their sales data of veterinary antimicrobials and animal population data based on a data reporting protocol and data collection form, which are available below. EMA processes the data according to the protocol.

The protocol outlines the:

EMA and the national ESVAC contact points revised the data reporting protocol in March 2021, including updated ESVAC conversation factors.

Until further notice, the submission of antimicrobial sales data for 2020 and onwards should follow the revised protocol.

  • data submission requirements;
  • instructions for data quality confirmation;
  • conversion factors EMA uses when processing the data.

    The reporting forms and protocols that had been in use in previous years are available for reference below.

    Population correction unit

    The amounts of veterinary antimicrobial agents sold are linked to the animal demographics in each country. In order to normalise the sales data for the animal population that can be subjected to treatment with antimicrobial agents, a population correction unit (PCU) is used in the ESVAC as a proxy for the size of the animal population. The way the PCU is calculated can be seen in Appendix 2 of the first ESVAC report.

    Standardised units of measurement

    To enable a more detailed analysis of trends in antimicrobial consumption, ESVAC is preparing a system for the collection of harmonised and standardised data on consumption by animal species.

    As a first step, EMA has established standardised units of measurement for reporting antimicrobial consumption in specific animal species, called the 'defined daily dose' and 'defined course dose' for animals. For more information, see:

    Reporting data by animal species

    In February 2018, EMA published guidance on reporting antimicrobial consumption data by animal species and an updated questions-and-answers document (Q&A) clarifying the rationale for certain recommendations, taking into account comments received during public consultation:

    On 26 April 2017, the European Commission organised a workshop with EMA on data collection on consumption of veterinary antimicrobials in Europe. There was general consensus among stakeholders on the need to collect data on antimicrobial use by animal species, and on the benefits of such data collection.

    ESVAC strategy 2016 - 2020

    EMA has developed an ESVAC strategy for 2016-2020. The strategy takes into account stakeholder feedback provided during public consultation:

    During the next five years, ESVAC will continue collecting and publishing overall sales data from as many EU and EEA countries as possible.

    The strategy aims to enable the analysis of European-level trends in antimicrobial consumption per animal species, using data that is standardised between countries.

    EMA will bring together the best European expertise for harmonising data collection and analysis methodologies. It will provide guidance on the collection of data per species, with a specific focus on the three major food-producing ones: pigs, cattle and broilers (poultry).

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