Consumption of veterinary antimicrobials

Fimea monitors sales of veterinary antimicrobials on the basis of statistics obtained from pharmaceutical wholesalers. Sales have been monitored since 1995 and are expressed by unit of weight (kilos of active ingredient) sold. The assumption is that the antimicrobials sold will be used during the monitoring period.

The overall consumption in the 2010s has been stable at around 13,500 kg per year. Changes in annual consumption have been modest, about 1-2%. In 2014, consumption totalled 13,700kg. In terms of sales volumes per group of medicines, the increase in the sale of tetracyclines, which began a few years ago, is continuing, while the sale of the sulfa-trimethoprim combination and cephalosporins continued to decrease.

Sales data monitoring were harmonised to achieve compliance with the European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption (ESVAC) project in 2010. An error was made during the adoption of the new method, which has now been corrected. The previously reported sales volume of injectable penicillin in 2010-2013 was about 1,000 kg too high, and as a result, the reported overall consumption was around 8% too high. The corrected data is comparable with 2014 data.

Reporting consumption in units of weight does not reflect fluctuations in animal stock levels. It should also be noted that the volume of medicine required to achieve the desired therapeutic effect varies between medicines, i.e. the efficacy of medicines expressed per unit of active ingredient varies. Levels of sales should therefore be compared to the sales of antimicrobials in the same class over a longer time period.

On a European scale, veterinary antimicrobials are used moderately in Finland. Narrow spectrum antimicrobials are preferred, and medication is administered to individual animals instead of groups. Comparative data on the consumption of antimicrobials in different countries can be obtained from the results of the European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption (ESVAC) project.

Further information