The Animal Health Institute joined health care providers, scientists, patient and public health advocates in sending a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Azar in support of efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance.
In calling for “well-coordinated efforts across human health, animal health and the environment,” the letter recognizes the value of a One Health approach to this critical public health issue. Effective response to the challenge of antibiotic resistance requires the cooperation and coordination of all those involved in the use of antibiotics.
The letter also pledges cooperation with the Department to address this issue. AHI has a track record of working with the Food and Drug Administration to ensure that all medically important antibiotics administered to food animals in feed or water are used under the supervision of a veterinarian to fight disease. AHI members worked with the agency to voluntarily change product labels to remove growth promotion uses and to ensure all medically important antibiotics are used at the direction of a veterinarian. This policy was successfully implemented in January, 2017.
The animal health industry continues to cooperate with the agency on the five-year plan to enhance stewardship in veterinary settings and food-animal production. As part of that plan, we are working with FDA to transitioning all antibiotics with human medical importance to veterinary oversight. We are working to ensure all label directions regarding duration of use are science-based and protect both human and animal health.
While we continue to report antibiotic sales data each year to FDA, the agency is also working with agricultural stakeholders to collect on-farm use data. We commend these stakeholders for working with FDA and USDA on this effort. Data is being collected on a species basis from the poultry, pork and beef industries, and recently the poultry report was released and can be seen here.
Antimicrobial resistance is a difficult public health issue that requires a coordinated, risk-based response from all stakeholders. The animal health industry will continue to work with all stakeholders to support the use of antibiotics in food animals only when necessary.