Europe’s use of antibiotics in animal falling: EMA

October 26, 2020 - European Medicines Agency (EMA) published its annual report recently on the European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption (ESVAC) revealed that European countries continue to reduce the use of antibiotics in animals.

In the EU, antimicrobial use for growth promotion has been banned since 2006, therefore the data sets provided to the ESVAC represent exclusively sales of antimicrobial agents sold as veterinary medicinal products.

According to the report, overall sales of veterinary antibiotics in European countries dropped by more than 34% between 2011 and 2018.

Also, total sales of certain veterinary antimicrobial agents belonging to antibiotic classes that are considered critically important in human medicine noticeably decreased between 2011 and 2018.

These classes include antibiotics used to treat serious infections in humans caused by bacteria resistant to most other antibiotic treatments. Sales of third- and fourth- generation cephalosporins dropped by 24%, polymyxins dropped by 70%, fluoroquinolones decreased by 4% and sales of other quinolones dropped by 74%.

"The steady decrease in sales of veterinary antibiotics over ten years shows that Europe is on the right track to fight antimicrobial resistance," says Ivo Claassen, head of EMA's Veterinary Medicines Division. "EU guidance and national campaigns promoting prudent use of antibiotics in animals are having a positive effect."

The ESVAC report presents data from 30 countries from the European Economic Area and Switzerland. All participating countries voluntarily provided information on sales of veterinary antibiotics for 2018. Contribution to the ESVAC project has grown substantially, from nine countries in 2010 to 31 countries in 2020. Of these, 25 countries presented data for the full 2011-2018 period.