From national to European – veterinary antibiotics consumption monitoring has been effective

© GettyImages/dusanpetkovic

In 2022, the sales of veterinary antibiotics in Finland were lower than ever before. The consumption of antibiotics in proportion to the number of production animals was also lower than ever before. The results of the monitoring of the wholesale of veterinary antibiotics are published annually in the joint Finres vet report of the Finnish Food Authority, Fimea and the University of Helsinki. Monitoring has been carried out since 1995.

Veterinary antibiotic consumption in Europe decreased 

Although the sales data alone does not determine for which animal species and for what purpose the antibiotics are used, and the mg amount of the active substance does not take into account the efficacy of antibiotics, the sales data has, despite its roughness, been a good basis for monitoring the consumption trends of veterinary antibiotics. Fimea has actively participated in the European veterinary antibiotic consumption monitoring project since 2009. 

Making the differences in the consumption of antibiotics visible has had a significant impact on reducing the consumption of veterinary antibiotics in Europe.  Overall, of the 25 countries with the longest monitoring period in ESVAC, in 2011–2022, sales of antibiotics for production animals decreased in 24 countries, including Finland, and only increased in one. In the joint results, the sales in the 25 countries have halved in ten years, and Europe is showing the world the way.

New reporting system ESUA vet

After 2023, the name ESVAC will become history as antibiotic monitoring moves to the time of the Veterinary Medicinal Products Regulation. The ESVAC-compliant consumption monitoring will continue, but during 2023, it has already become part of the more comprehensive ESUA vet reporting of sales and usage data. 

Fimea continues to actively participate in developing the reporting of veterinary antibiotic sales data. The work required for the ESUA vet changes was started at Fimea in spring 2023. Particular attention has been paid to the medicines register Saga and its integration with the EU veterinary medicinal products database UPD. Information on veterinary medicinal products subject to marketing authorisation and fixed-term special-permit veterinary products has been added to Fimea’s basic register so that authorities involved in collecting the use data and other stakeholders have up-to-date information on the medicines. 

The aim of Fimea’s ongoing medicines consumption register reform is to automate and simplify the monitoring of veterinary antibiotic consumption as well, but the work is still ongoing. Upon completion, the reform will significantly facilitate the reporting of veterinary antibiotic sales data.

Finland a model country of antibiotic consumption in production animals

Finland is a model country in terms of the consumption of antibiotics in production animals both in Europe and globally. The Finres Vet and ESVAC 2022 reports published in autumn 2023 show that total antibiotic consumption in Finland is low, drug choices emphasize narrow spectrum antibiotics, and the majority of antibiotics are administered to individual animals. Reporting on veterinary antibiotic consumption monitoring is important to better manage the risks of antibiotic resistance and to properly guide the use of veterinary antibiotics.

More information:

The Sic! Online magazine 28.12.2023: Eläinten mikrobilääkkeiden kulutuksen seuranta tuottaa tulosta (in Finnish)