Global Trends in Animal Antibiotic Use: Summary
Antibiotics are a cornerstone of modern medicine. These medicines are the only way to treat a bacterial disease; there is no alternative. Their importance to human and animal health cannot be understated, which is why the animal health sector recognizes antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as a significant global threat.
Since the United Nations issued their ‘Political Declaration on AMR’ in 2016, countries across the globe have implemented national action plans to address the threat of resistance. As developers of medicines, the Animal Health sector recognizes that it must be part of the solution and has been at the forefront of these efforts. The sector has set measurable targets for increasing prevention, worked with governments to implement responsible use strategies, and strengthened global cooperation.
Six years on from the United Nations Political Declaration, this report analyzes global data to understand how efforts are progressing to better understand and tackle AMR. The key findings show:
1. Animal antibiotic use is falling: Globally, use is down by nearly 1/3rd, while in many countries there have been significant and sometimes dramatic declines in the need for antibiotics in animals.
2. Prevention works: Reductions in antibiotic sales are mirrored by a rise in prevention products. Globally, antibiotics relative share of the animal health product portfolio has declined 28% while vaccines sales increased.
3. Antibiotics remain a critical tool: Many developed nations have achieved drastic declines that level off to a consistent level. This often reflects a state of ‘optimized use’ where prevention is maximized, but antibiotics remain necessary for treatment of disease that evades a farm’s defenses.
4. Progress cannot be achieved without One Health action: Authorities like the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) have found that the majority of human AMR transfer stem from human health care settings, while leading studies show human antibiotic use is growing. Research concludes that without corresponding action in human health, actions within the animal domain will have little impact.
5. Animal health is a global leader: Authorities have recognized the significant progress made in reducing the need for antibiotics in animals. Animal health companies are building on this progress with actions such as the Roadmap to Reducing the Need for Antibiotics, which provided 25 measurable commitments to help address AMR and responsible use, all of which are on track for completion by 2025.