The Decline in Antibiotic Sales
In a significant development, total sales of veterinary and horticultural antibiotics in New Zealand have witnessed a fifth consecutive annual decline, plummeting by 23% in 2022.
Key Findings Revealed
This noteworthy decline was one of the key findings of the 2022 Antibiotic agricultural compound sales analysis, released today by New Zealand Food Safety. The report provides an overview of the annual sales of veterinary and horticultural antibiotics, as part of a national action plan aimed at curbing antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
Addressing a Global Health Threat
Vincent Arbuckle, deputy director-general of New Zealand Food Safety, emphasized the significance of this reduction, stating,
“The World Health Organization has identified AMR as one of the top 10 global health threats facing humanity, so seeing a 23% drop in the sale of antibiotics for plants and animals is good news.”
Balancing Necessity and Responsibility
“Antibiotics are antimicrobial medicines essential to the health of humans, animals, and plants, but using them excessively can lead to the emergence of resistant bacteria that don’t respond to antibiotic treatment. With AMR increasing worldwide, and few new antibiotics being developed, careful use of the antibiotics we have will help to keep them effective.”
Critical Antibiotics for Human Health
Among the 16 classes of antibiotics monitored by New Zealand Food Safety, five are deemed critically important for human health, serving as a last line of defense against animal infections.
Significant Reduction in Crucial Antibiotics
“We found that the total sales of antibiotics critical for human health decreased by 8% in 2022 to 62.85kg. This is the lowest they’ve been since 2017 when 8,952kg of antibiotics critically important to human health were sold,”
Striking Decrease in Antibiotic Usage
In an impressive overall trend, the sale of antibiotics has diminished from 71,361kg in 2017 to 41,033kg in 2022, marking a 42% decrease.
Joint Efforts for Responsible Use
Arbuckle attributed this ongoing decrease in antibiotic usage to a collaborative effort between industry and New Zealand Food Safety. He highlighted the importance of ensuring these vital medicines are used appropriately and commended the continued vigilance of veterinarians, farmers, and other industry stakeholders.
Regulatory Review for Further Reduction
Moreover, New Zealand Food Safety is actively reviewing its regulatory oversight of antibiotics used in plants and animals. This has the potential to further reduce antibiotic usage as it might involve tightening controls on certain antibiotics. This comprehensive review has a five-year timeline because of its extensive nature, which includes assessing hundreds of antibiotic products.
A Vision to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance
The New Zealand Antimicrobial Resistance Action Plan, jointly developed in 2017, outlines a vision for managing antimicrobials as a valuable shared resource. The goal is to maintain their efficacy in treating infections in humans and managing diseases in animals and plants.
Upcoming Action Plan Update
We anticipate releasing an update to the action plan next year, highlighting New Zealand’s commitment to combating antimicrobial resistance and preserving antibiotic effectiveness.
The 2022 Antibiotic agricultural compound sales analysis report is available here.
Combined Veterinary and Horticultural Antibiotic Sales in Kg
|Year||Total||Critical to Human Health|