Publications Animal Health Industry Calls on G8 Nations to Promote Responsible Use of Antibiotics

Animal Health Industry Calls on G8 Nations to Promote Responsible Use of Antibiotics


Brussels, Belgium, 12 June 2013 –The International Federation for Animal Health (IFAH), welcomes initiatives to table the issue of antibiotic resistance at the G8 Summit. The federation believes it is important that antibiotics, vital tools in any medical doctor’s and veterinarian’s toolbox, are used responsibly whenever they are employed, whether by the human medical world, the veterinary sector, or elsewhere. Like people, animals get sick and need medicines too, and especially infectious diseases need to be treated with antibiotics as and when necessary. We must ensure the continued availability of antibiotics for both human and veterinary medicines. IFAH therefore encourages a stronger dialogue and co-operation between the two medical sectors to ensure the continued availability of antibiotics for both human and veterinary medicines. A general call for a reduction in the use of antibiotics in veterinary medicine, however, is not appropriate and in the long term will be damaging to the health and welfare of animals, with potentially a significant impact on people (e.g. when zoonoses go untreated, or when people who rely on animals also for traction and as a means to a better life lose their support). The responsible use of antibiotics, including the principle as much as necessary, as little as possible needs to be further encouraged. Barbara Freischem, IFAH’s Executive Director said, “As an industry sector we actively promote the responsible use of all our products, including antibiotics, and we engage in several platforms to do so, e.g. under the auspices of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). There is evidence that this is a successful strategy”. A comprehensive review of the scientific literature by the International Dairy Federation’s (IDF) Standing Committee on Animal Health demonstrated recently that no apparent progression of antimicrobial resistance in mastitis pathogens could be observed even after four decades of antimicrobial use in dairy cows. An undifferentiated, systematic decrease of antibiotic usage in animals, which is sometimes recommended, does not effectively address main resistance problems and may leave animal diseases untreated which in turn may have consequences in terms of animal suffering, animal health and even public health. “We need to safeguard the efficacy of antibiotics for the future in order to control and cure infectious diseases. In addition to all stakeholders involved adopting measures to ensure appropriate and responsible use, it also means a need for a regulatory environment which stimulates innovation and allows the global animal health industry – as well as the human pharmaceutical sector – to keep developing new and innovative products”, Barbara Freischem added. At the moment it takes between 8-12 years to bring a veterinary product to market. The extensive requirements and high administrative burden involved in prior and post registration of a product is currently not encouraging companies to innovate in this sector. In the interim there is a need to agree on successful strategies to keep the existing antibiotics working to the benefit of all, and we can only achieve that together.


The International Federation for Animal Health (IFAH) is an organisation representing manufacturers of veterinary medicines, vaccines and other animal health products in both developed and developing countries across five continents. The mission of IFAH is to foster a greater understanding of animal health matters and promote a predictable, science-based regulatory environment that facilitates the supply of innovative and quality animal medicines, vaccines and other animal health products into a competitive market place. These products contribute to a healthy and safe food supply as well as a high standard of health and welfare for animals and people.

For further information on IFAH, please visit