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Vets hail ‘impressive’ four-year reduction in antibiotic sales

29 Oct 2019


We welcome findings from the 2018 UK Veterinary Antibiotic Resistance and Sales Surveillance Report, published today by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate.

We welcome findings from the 2018 UK Veterinary Antibiotic Resistance and Sales Surveillance Report (VARSS), published today by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate.

The report shows a 9% reduction in sales of antibiotics for food-producing animals between 2017 and 2018, with overall sales of highest priority critically important antibiotics (HP-CIAs) falling by 18% in the same period. This translates to a reduction in sales of antibiotics and HP-CIAs by 53% and 66%, respectively, between 2014 and 2018.*

A clinical surveillance of antibiotic resistance shows that most of the key veterinary pathogens remain susceptible to authorised veterinary antibiotics, including those that have been authorised for many years. Some, such as E. coli in poultry, show significant reductions to resistance.

BVA Junior Vice President James Russell said:

“We are pleased to see further reductions in antibiotic sales in the latest VARSS report, which is a testament to the hugely successful collaborative work being carried out by vets, farmers and the industry to steward responsible antibiotic use and champion greater disease prevention measures across each of the eight livestock sectors.

“It is particularly commendable to note that sales of antibiotics in food producing animals have fallen by an impressive 53% between 2014 and 2018.

“Antimicrobial resistance remains a huge concern for vets, which is why we must maintain this momentum in the face of the ongoing global threat it poses to the health of animals, humans and the environment.

“While it is vital that we continue to build upon these achievements through evidence-based, sector-specific targets to further refine, reduce or replace antibiotic use, a large part of the future changes will involve promoting high animal health and welfare through disease prevention strategies, such as increasing uptake in vaccines. Ongoing improvements in veterinary-led health planning on farms will also help to further lower antibiotic use by reducing the incidence of endemic diseases.

“BVA is committed to providing continued leadership on the issue and will continue working with our specialist divisions, RUMA, the UK One Health Coordination Group, and other key stakeholders to build upon current achievements.”

The VARSS report comes as BVA prepares to launch the One Health in Action report on 1 November, which will highlight ‘real-world’ case studies to illustrate collaborative work of professionals from across the UK veterinary and medical professions and animal welfare and environmental sectors to tackle important issues such as antimicrobial resistance, climate change and mental health and wellness.

*Figures for antibiotic sales as measured in mg/kg; HP-CIA sales data as measured in tonnes


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