European countries reduce antibiotics use in animals

22 October 2019

Article: 53/4210

A report published on 15 October 2019 by the European Medicines Association (EMA) shows that European countries are reducing the use of antibiotics in animals. The overall sales of veterinary antibiotics across Europe dropped by more than 32% between 2011 and 2017.

Two of the important classes of antibiotics for human medicine were used less in animals in this time period, with sales of polymyxins reduced by 66% and those of third and fourth generation cephalosporins decreasing by more than 20%. These classes include antibiotics used to treat serious infections in humans caused by bacteria resistant to most treatments.

The report, which is part of the European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption (ESVAC) project, presents data from 31 countries from the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland which voluntarily provided information on sales or prescriptions of veterinary antibiotics for 2017. 

The results show that European countries are becoming more responsible in their use of antibiotics in animals, which will lower the risk of bacteria in food of animal origin becoming resistant.

Source: EMA, 15 October 2019