Brussels, 15 February 2016 - EFSA-ECDC's report on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) produced since 2010 is the 8th in the series and IFAH-Europe welcomes these reports. In conjunction with other reports like ESVAC, ESAC, and JIACRA, they contribute to a better understanding and knowledge of the issue of AMR across Europe, and help to see any trends occurring. IFAH-Europe notes with interest that responsible use seems to improve the antibiotic resistance situation in many European countries, which is positive news. It shows the success of initiatives such as EPRUMA and how awareness campaigns across Europe on the correct and responsible use of antibiotics within a One Health framework do make a difference.
As an industry sector we are strong advocates of the responsible use of all antibiotics used in animals, as is reflected in our longstanding support of the EPRUMA stakeholder platform, of which IFAH-Europe is a founding member. In addition, we are also a strong supporter of the European Surveillance Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption (ESVAC) project. While Member States need to make decisions on responsible use based on their local agricultural and disease needs, co-ordination at the European level is essential to maximise their effectiveness.
We believe that the responsible use of antibiotics in farm animals needs to go hand in hand with excellent hygiene, biosecurity and good husbandry on farms. Despite all these measures, infectious diseases in animals still naturally occur, and in the interest of the health and well-being of animals, effective antibiotics are vital to treat animals with a bacterial infection. The goal of responsible use ultimately is to come to a use of antibiotics 'as little as possible, as much as necessary'.
The objective of reducing AMR development needs to involve awareness of correct use and the elimination of unnecessary and incorrect use of antibiotics, in both animals and people. Antibiotics in animals and people need to be used more rationally and in a more targeted way, maximising the therapeutic effect and minimising the development of AMR (as is stated in the EC Guideline for Prudent Use of Antimicrobials in Animals (2015/ C 299/04) document).
In other words, antibiotics, whether in animals or people, need to be used correctly, e.g. prescribed course must be completed, and correct dosages must be given and followed. This is important as incorrect use of antibiotics forms a risk leading to AMR, a risk the EC Guidelines quite rightly highlight. So, as little as possible, as much as necessary and focussing on the best suited product, for the correct period of time, with the correct dosage and administration route.