Thursday, August 20, 2015

Drug industry making it more difficult for FDA to track antibiotic use in animals

The drug industry isn't doing much to help the U.S. Food and Drug Administration track antibiotics used in animals, Philip Brasher reports for Agri-Pulse. "Drugmakers now only report total sales for individual drugs. Breaking the sales data down by cattle, hogs, chickens and turkeys would help the government track how the drugs are being used and more easily target its actions to curb the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the FDA says."

"In comments filed with FDA, industry groups say the data would be difficult to produce, misleading and would likely be used unfairly to target segments of the industry," Brasher writes. "They also objected to an agency proposal to allow the use of estimates when firm data is not available." Drug industry representatives said it's difficult to know how the drugs are used once they are sold, and even if they did know, releasing the information could make producers and veterinarians targets. Critics of antibiotic use say "more information would help scientists understand how antibiotic resistance develops."

The FDA proposal to reduce antibiotic used in animals "is part of a broader Obama administration strategy to combat antibiotic resistance," Brasher writes. "The agency said that more actions will be proposed. While the species-specific data would provide a 'fuller picture' of antibiotic use in livestock and poultry, 'more detailed information is needed about on-farm use practices to adequately understand links between usage patterns and trends in resistance.'" (Read more)

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