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. 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.
Total sales in the early 2010s has been stable. Since 2014, sales have decreased by almost one two thousand kilos (-16%), totalling about 11,200 kg in 2016. The sales of both injectable and orally administered products have decreased. The proportion of orally administered products of the total sales has increased. Of the groups of medicines, there was a decrease in the sales of penicillins, cephalosporins and the sulfonamide-trimethoprim combination in particular. The proportion of antimicrobials critical to the treatment of humans has remained small.
Consumption figures alone do not provide conclusive information as to what is causing the changes. For a more accurate assessment of the actual changes in veterinary antimicrobial use, the amount of medicine used per species should be reported, relative to the number of animals. In the European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption (ESVAC) project, the number of food-producing animals has been taken into account. 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. Information about the consumption of antimicrobials in different countries can be obtained from the results of the ESVAC project.