Antibiotic sales dip hailed as AMR fight continues
News that sales of veterinary antibiotics in the UK are their lowest ever recorded level has been hailed.
The Veterinary Medicines Directorate revealed that sales of antibiotics for use in food-producing animals dropped 9% last year and have reduced by 59% since 2014..
The VMD’s UK-Veterinary Antimicrobial Resistance and Sales Surveillance (VARSS) report also highlighted a positive picture of decreasing resistance across several outcome indicators.
Chief executive Abi Seager, said: “Antibiotic stewardship is embedded in UK farming and responsible use is essential to maintaining our high animal health and welfare standards.
“I’m encouraged that our vets and farmers continue to make reductions in their antibiotic prescribing and use.
“We are continuing to expand monitoring to build upon our current knowledge and control the spread of AMR to strengthen the UK’s biosecurity.”
The VMD has described AMR as a “global challenge” with wide-ranging impacts across human and animal health, food security, and economic development.
AMR occurs when bacteria, and other microorganisms, develop a resistance to antimicrobial drugs, such as antibiotics, making them less responsive or unresponsive to treatment.
Avoiding unnecessary antibiotic usage in humans and animals is crucial to slowing the development of antibiotic resistance.
The Animal and Plant Health Agency , which works jointly with VMD to monitor bacteria in food-producing animals for AMR, also welcomed with “positive progress” and vowed to work closely with vets and farmers to develop their AMR capacity.
UK chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said: “This year’s UK-VARSS report shows how collaborative working between government and industry is effective in reducing unnecessary antibiotic use.
“It is important that we maintain and build upon this positive progress and so I encourage vets and animal owners to continue to support the UK’s 20-year vision to contain and control AMR.”