Veterinary

Consumption of veterinary antimicrobials

Consumption of veterinary antimicrobials

Consumption of veterinary antimicrobials

Fimea has monitored the sales of veterinary antimicrobials on the basis of statistics provided by pharmaceutical wholesalers since 1995. The detailed results have been compiled in the joint FINRES-Vet report of the Finnish Food Authority, Fimea and the University of Helsinki. The report also contains information on the development of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria isolated from animals in Finland. In the report, sales are expressed as units of weight (kilograms of active substance) according to the route of administration and the pharmaceutical form. Regarding intramammary tubes, sales relative to the number of dairy cows are also reported, and regarding the EU indicators for the consumption of veterinary antimicrobials in food-producing animals, sales relative to the total number of food-producing animals.

Although the sales of veterinary antimicrobials increased slightly in 2019, they have declined clearly in the 2010s. Almost two thirds of the antimicrobials were given to individual animals and the remaining third to animal groups. From the point of view of preventing antibiotic resistance, the medication of individual animals should be favoured whenever possible.

Injectable penicillin is by far the most sold veterinary antimicrobial in Finland. The next most sold ones are orally administered tetracyclines and the combination sulphonamide-trimethoprim, the sales of both of which increased clearly in 2019. The sales of the reserve antibiotics (WHO’s list of antimicrobials critically important for human medicine, HPCIA)  for the medication of animals are very low in Finland.

FINRES-Vet reports (Finnish Food Authority)

Towards data on use per animal species 

The monitoring of the data on the sales of veterinary antimicrobials in Finland was harmonised to comply with the European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption (ESVAC) project in 2010. The data is based on package-specific sales and because a product may be used for several animal species, information on sales per species is not available. 

It is not possible to conclude the reasons for changes in the sales of different antimicrobial groups on the basis of the sales data alone. To be able to better estimate changes, the amount of medicinal products used should be determined per species and relative to the number of animals. The European Commission's Regulation on veterinary medicinal products (Regulation (EU) 2019/6) requires Member States to provide the European Medicines Agency with data on the use of veterinary antimicrobials per species from 2025 onwards. The Finnish Food Authority is currently developing an information system for the collection of the data. 

For the time being, the best tool for monitoring the trends in the consumption of veterinary antimicrobials in food-producing animals is the population-adjusted sales in the ESVAC project. In those figures, the total sales of veterinary antimicrobials for food-producing animals are presented relative to the total number of food-producing animals. On a European scale, antimicrobials are used moderately in food-producing animals in Finland. Narrow spectrum antimicrobials are preferred, and treatment is more often given to individual animals than to groups of animals. 

Almost all veterinary antimicrobial tablets are intended for the treatment of dogs and cats. However, as there is no comprehensive statistics on the number of companion animals in Finland, the sales of tablets are reported as units of weight (kilograms of active substance). In the 2010s, the sales of tablets for companion animals have halved.
 

Further information

Further information