Each year animal health companies report to the Food and Drug Administration the amount of antibiotics sold in the United States. The antibiotics are used to prevent, control, or treat bacterial infections in animals. Both veterinarians and farmers rely on these products to keep animals healthy.
This year’s report, which covers 2020, shows the sale of medically important antibiotics – those compounds that are also used in human medicine – declined 3% from 2019 and are now down 38% from the peak year of 2015.
Animal health companies collaborate with FDA to promote judicious use policies and to ensure medically important antibiotics are used only when a licensed veterinarian deems them necessary to protect the life of the animal. In 2017, the use of medically important antibiotics for growth promotion was eliminated and antimicrobials administered in food and water were placed under veterinary oversight. Earlier this year FDA released final guidance requiring all remaining medically important antibiotics (including those administered through injection, intramammary or topically) to be used only under the supervision of a veterinarian.