By Dave Fairfield, Senior Vice President of Feed Services
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Dec. 20 released its 2017 Summary Report on Antimicrobials Sold or Distributed for Use in Food-Producing Animals that shows domestic sales and distribution of all medically important antimicrobials intended for use in food-producing animals decreased by 33 percent between years 2016 and 2017.
The 2017 Summary Report also shows that domestic sales and distribution of all medically important antimicrobials decreased 41 percent since 2015 (the peak year of sales/distribution) and decreased 28 percent since the first year of reported sales in 2009. FDA notes that while sales data do not necessarily reflect actual antimicrobial use, the reduction in sales volume observed in 2016 and 2017 is an important indicator that ongoing efforts to support antimicrobial stewardship and judicious use of antimicrobials are having a significant impact.
The 2017 Summary Report is the first report to include data submitted after the full implementation of FDA’s Guidance for Industry (GFI) #213. Based on recommendations in GFI #213, all production uses (e.g., growth promotion, feed efficiency) of medically important antimicrobials in the feed or drinking water of food-producing animals were eliminated, and such drugs now can be used only for therapeutic purposes under veterinary oversight.
FDA states that the reduction in the quantity of medically important antimicrobials sold or distributed in 2017 demonstrates that ongoing stewardship efforts, including those initiated by FDA and other key stakeholders, are having a measurable impact. At the same time, although sales data provide insight regarding antimicrobial drugs entering the marketplace, FDA notes it also is important to consider additional sources of information when assessing progress of efforts to foster judicious antimicrobial use, including actual use data, animal demographics and animal health data, and data on resistance. As such, FDA continues to work with federal, academic and industry partners to obtain more information about how, when and why animal producers and veterinarians use medically important antimicrobial drugs in food-producing animals. FDA plans to publish a report in 2019 that integrates and analyzes these other data sources to more fully assess the progress of antimicrobial stewardship efforts.
In addition, FDA emphasizes that it is critical to remember that the agency’s primary goal with initiatives like GFI #213 and the Center for Veterinary Medicine’s five-year action plan to foster antimicrobial stewardship in veterinary settings is not to reduce antimicrobial sales volume, but rather, to support the implementation of good antimicrobial stewardship practices to slow the development of antimicrobial resistance.