Strengthening the use of antibiotics in animal health

Strengthening the use of antibiotics in animal health

Healthcare Tech Outlook | Friday, January 14, 2022

From January 2022, the new EU rules on veterinary medicines will be put into effect which will shape Europe’s animal sector.

FREMONT CA:The new EU rules on veterinary medicines will be implemented from January 2022. The rules have been widely promoted by the European Commission as a key tool to address the challenge of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) by listing out a number of limitations and restrictions on the use of antibiotics in animal health care.The new rules were implemented with the focus to escalate the animal sector’s capacity to approach antibiotic resistance. With an aim to reduce the use and sales of antimicrobials by 50 percent by 2030, the EU has introduced the restrictions to help farmers deliver on aspiring targets projected in the EU farm to Fork Strategy.

As per the recorded report from the European Medicine Agency (ESVAC report), there is a general decline since 2011 in sales of veterinary antibiotics accounting to about  43.2 percent. The other report, which is medically important, showed an overall decline in sales of veterinary antibiotics: 76.5 percent reduction in polymyxins, 32.8 percent for third and fourth generation cephalosporins, 12.8 percent for fluoroquinolones and 85.4 percent for other quinolones.

From January 2022, the use of antibiotics to prevent illness such as prophylaxis will be banned, with exceptions for a small group of animals when the risk of infection is very high and the repercussions are likely to be severe with no relevant alternatives available.

Another important update is the establishment of a list of antibiotics reserved for human health, which will be developed based on scientific advice from the EMA. Member States are also given the authority to further restrict the use of certain antibiotics administered on animals, but such measures must be justified, and the Commission should be notified when such actions are taken. It is critical for politicians to remember that for the sake of animal welfare, veterinarians should be allowed to treat specific diseases in animals with the appropriate antibiotic as and when necessary.

The efforts made by Europe's animal sector in reduction of antibiotic use are now widely acknowledged by EU policymakers. Veterinarians are confident that further progress is possible as new rules on veterinary medicine will come into action in January 2022.

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