Consumption of veterinary antimicrobials

Fimea monitors the 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.

Overall consumption in the early 2010s was stable, but a reduction of almost a thousand kilos was seen in 2015, with consumption falling to 12,300kg. This fall in sales was particularly notable in orally administered sulfa-trimethoprim products, tetracyclines and 1st generation cephalosporins. Similarly, sales of injectable penicillins decreased. The proportion of antimicrobials critical to the treatment of humans remained small.

The reasons for these changes are unknown. The next few years will show whether the change is permanent. It should be noted that reporting consumption in units of weight does not reflect fluctuations in animal stock levels. Furthermore, 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.

Sales data monitoring was harmonised to achieve compliance with the European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption (ESVAC) project in 2010. On a European scale, antimicrobials are used moderately in food-producing animals 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.

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