Thursday, March 27, 2014

Drug companies agree to federal plan to phase out antibiotics used to spur growth in livestock

Drug manufacturers appear to be on board with proposed limitations to antibiotic use on livestock. The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday "said 25 of 26 drug companies that were asked to phase out antibiotics to promote growth in farm animals have agreed to comply with the agency’s voluntary plan," David Pierson reports for the Los Angeles Times. The 25 companies make 99.6 percent of the targeted drugs.

"Farms use about 80 percent of the nation's antibiotics supply, sometimes in healthy animals to speed up growth or prevent illness in unsanitary conditions," Pierson writes. "Their widespread application is being blamed for the rise of superbugs that afflict 2 million people in the U.S. and contribute to 23,000 deaths each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

FDA has said it wants to phase out the of antibiotics, something critics have said should be mandatory in light of evidence that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has serious weaknesses in poultry inspection, and the FDA still allows use of antibiotics that don't meet agency's own standards. There has been no evidence that the antibiotics pose any direct harm to humans. (Read more)

"The FDA's "final Guidance 213, released in December 2013, asked the companies to stop selling antimicrobial drugs for growth promotion and directs them to change many drugs from 'over the counter' to a status requiring veterinary oversight and consultation," Aarian Marshall notes for Agri-Pulse. "The industry had 90 days from the guidance release date in December to respond to FDA's requests. On March 10, the Animal Health Institute and the Generic Animal Drug Alliance, which represent most animal drug companies, committed to the voluntary guidelines." (Read more)

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