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1 November 2023

New reports show that sales of veterinary antibiotics in the UK are at the lowest level ever recorded.

Today, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate released its latest UK-Veterinary Antimicrobial Resistance and Sales Surveillance (VARSS) Report while the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA) also released its own report, the RUMA Targets Task Force 2 progress report.

Both reports demonstrated the positive news that sales of antibiotics have dropped significantly, making them the lowest recorded sales ever and the UK remain one of the lowest prescribers of the drugs in Europe.

The VARSS report revealed that sales for use in food-producing animals has reduced by 59% since 2014, while the RUMA report showed that targets continue to be largely exceeded, met or on track, and that where use has been needed to address outbreaks of disease it has been done so responsibly and effectively.

President of the British Veterinary Association Anna Judson said: “Antibiotic resistance is a really serious issue for the health of both people and animals, and so it is fantastic to see continued progress in reducing the sale and use of these important medicines. This has been achieved through the hard work of the veterinary profession in co-operation with farmers over the past ten years, but there is still work to do.  We must continue pushing forward, building greater awareness of the issue, or risk losing medicines that are essential for treating many serious conditions.”

The two reports come at the start of this year’s Antibiotic Amnesty Campaign, which calls for vet practices to encourage clients to return any unused or out of date antibiotics for safe disposal during November. Register your interest and access free resources on the RUMA CA&E website.



 Notes for Editors

  1. A session discussing AMR is taking place at BVA Congress at this year’s London Vet Show: Super drugs vs super bugs: is the UK making progress against the threat of AMR? takes place on 16 November at 2.45pm – 4pm.
  2. BVA is the largest membership community for the veterinary profession in the UK. We represent the views of over 19,000 vets and vet students on animal health and welfare, and veterinary policy issues to government, parliamentarians and key influencers in the UK and EU.

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