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Survey shows stable antibiotic use in animals

by 5m Editor
15 December 2003, at 12:00am

WASHINGTON - New data from a survey of animal health companies show that the volume of antibiotics used in animals in the U.S. was virtually unchanged in 2002 compared to 2001, after two consecutive years of declines.

Survey shows stable antibiotic use in animals - WASHINGTON - New data from a survey of animal health companies show that the volume of antibiotics used in animals in the U.S. was virtually unchanged in 2002 compared to 2001, after two consecutive years of declines

In 2002, 22 million pounds of antibiotics were sold for use in both farm and companion animals. While that is a slight increase in the 21.8 million pounds reported in 2001, AHI’s membership base for the 2002 survey was larger than in 2001. When factoring out the different membership base, use in 2002 would have declined slightly from 2001. The data were collected from a survey of members of the Animal Health Institute (AHI), consisting of companies that make medicines for pets and farm animals.

“Careful and judicious use of antibiotics to keep animals healthy contributes to the safety of our food supply and the health and well-being of our pets,” said Alexander S. Mathews, AHI President and CEO. “This annual data continues to demonstrate that antibiotics are used prudently and with increasing efficiency.”

Notable in this year’s survey is the dramatic drop in the small portion of antibiotics used for health maintenance. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves antibiotics for use in animal husbandry for four basic purposes: disease treatment, disease control, disease prevention, and health maintenance, as measured by improved growth rates or more efficient feed use. Health maintenance claims have commonly been called “growth promotion.”

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) considers treatment, control and prevention of disease to be therapeutic uses. Therapeutic use of antibiotics to treat, control and prevent disease rose to more than 90 percent of total use, despite erroneous claims by some that a majority of antibiotics are fed unnecessarily to healthy animals.

AHI survey respondents provide an assessment each year of the amount of veterinary antibiotics sold for therapeutic use and health maintenance purposes. The percentage of veterinary antibiotics use reported as “therapeutic” was 88 percent in 2000, 83 percent in 2001 and 91 percent in 2002.

2000 - 2002 AHI SURVEY
Active Antibacterial Ingredients Sold by AHI Members
Antibiotic Class 2000
Pounds
2001
Pounds
2002
Pounds
Ionophores/Arsenicals* 9,165,043 7,758,492 9,050,782
Tetracyclines 6,693,834 7,144,523 6,649,567
Cephalosporins, macrolides, lincosamides, polypeptides, streptogramins, and other minor classes of antibiotics** 4,857,896 4,268,658 5,056,515
Sulfonamides and Penicillins 2,363,151 2,406,072 815,298
Aminoglycosides 337,819 257,252 415,219
Fluoroquinolones 38,082 36,204 33,602
Total 23,725,824 21,871,202 22,020,983
*Unique drug products developed for animal production and not related to traditional antibiotics.
**Grouping necessary to abide by disclosure agreements.


Source: Animal Health Institute- 15th December 2003

5m Editor