Antibiotic sales to agriculture down

Hospital purchasing power impacts market

Sales of antibiotics used in food-producing animals decreased between 2015 and 2016, according to a new report from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The sales of all antimicrobials decreased by 10 percent, while the the sales of medically important antimicrobials decreased by 14 percent. This is the first time sales of antibiotics have declined since the FDA started tracking these numbers in 2009. However, current sales of all antimicrobials remain higher than the 2009 level.

While the report does not include information on why sales have declined, market pressure from the health care sector undoubtedly played a leading role. With notable actions dating back to 2009, the commitment of hospitals to antibiotic stewardship through food procurement and advocacy of clinician leaders has prompted a new standard for the use of antibiotics in agriculture.

Providing sales numbers by kinds of animal for the first time this year, the FDA report calls out beef (43 percent) and pork (37 percent) producers as the heaviest antibiotic users of medically important antibiotics.

Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth will turn their attention to beef and pork and continue to promote antibiotic use only in the case of diagnosed illness to ensure use is adequately curbed to preserve these life-saving medicines for human health.

Recent progress made by individuals and organizations in our network includes: