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 April 2010, 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 since 2010 from 9 to 31 countries.

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:

Click to access the interactive ESVAC database

Annual report on sales of veterinary antibiotics

The annual ESVAC report presents sales data on veterinary antibiotics 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 report 2018 (new)

The latest ESVAC report, published in October 2020, shows that sales of antibiotics for use in animals in Europe fell by more than 34% between 2011 and 2018:

ESVAC report

Of particular importance, the veterinary sales of antibiotics considered critically important in human medicine present a decreasing trend. Between 2011 and 2018, sales have reduced by:

  • 24% for third and fourth generation cephalosporins;
  • 70% for polymyxins;
  • 4% for fluoroquinolones;
  • 74% for other quinolones

The situation across Europe remains contrasting. Out of the 25 countries that provided data covering 2011-2018, 18 countries observed a decline in sales of veterinary antibiotics overall sales have dropped by more than 5%. However, 5 countries recorded an increase of more than 5% and two other countries noted a minor decrease (below 2%) in overall sales.

The substantial decline in some countries indicate that there is also a potential for a decrease in other countries.

Related information materials

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

Trends by country

New: An overview of country-specific trends in the sales of veterinary antibiotics between 2010 and 2018 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 (2010-2018)

  PDF iconAustria

  PDF iconBelgium

  PDF iconBulgaria

  PDF iconCroatia

  PDF iconCyprus

  PDF iconCzechia

  PDF iconDenmark

  PDF iconEstonia

  PDF iconFinland

  PDF iconFrance

  PDF iconGermany

  PDF iconGreece

  PDF iconHungary

Iceland flag  PDF iconIceland

  PDF iconIreland

  PDF iconItaly

  PDF iconLatvia

  PDF iconLithuania

  PDF iconLuxembourg

  PDF iconMalta

  PDF iconNetherlands

Norway flag  PDF iconNorway

  PDF iconPoland

  PDF iconPortugal

  PDF iconRomania

  PDF iconSlovakia

  PDF iconSlovenia

  PDF iconSpain

  PDF iconSweden

Switzerland flag   PDF iconSwitzerland

  PDF iconUnited Kingdom


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 collection form and protocol

In order to obtain standardised and harmonised data on sales of veterinary antimicrobials, the Agency together with the ESVAC national contact points developed a data collection protocol and a data collection template for compilation and submission of data using MS Excel.

As of 1 September 2015, the delivery of sales data to ESVAC has been web-based. The ESVAC sales protocol and template for web-based submissions is available:

    Although ESVAC data are now collected via the web tool, the Excel templates for submitting data may be useful for countries which are not a part of ESVAC but are planning to establish a data collection system in their country.

    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. For more information see the European Commission website.

    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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