Sales of Disease Fighting Animal Medicines Rise
Washington, D.C., November 14, 2008 ⎯ Working with veterinarians to provide them the tools to keep
farm animals and pets healthy, animal health companies increased sales of antibiotics in 2007.
Antibiotics are critical disease-fighting medicines used to treat diseases in dogs, cats and other companion
animals, and in farm animals to improve their well-being and ensure the production of safe and
Total sales for use in animals rose 5 percent over 2006, according to data provided by the research-based
companies that produce animal medicines. One factor that may have contributed to the increase was an
increase in U.S. meat production of more than 2 billion pounds.
The antibiotic data were collected from a survey of members of the Animal Health Institute (AHI),
consisting of companies that make medicines for pets and farm animals.
“Animals are prone to illness and they require medicines to treat and prevent disease,” said AHI President
and CEO Alexander S. Mathews. “Animals need medicine, too, and the availability of these medicines to
protect animal health is an essential tool in the fight to protect human health.”
The amount of the total used for growth and efficiency in 2007 was estimated to be 13 percent, up from
less than 5 percent the previous year. Two factors accounted for this increase. First, revisions to prior
years’ reports were recognized. Second, some increase was expected as animal producers struggle with
high grain prices and seek to capture both the economic efficiencies and the health benefits derived from
the use of these products. Notably, the entire increase in the percentage of the total amount used for
growth and efficiency was in ionophores, compounds not used in human medicine. The amount of nonionophore compounds used for growth declined slightly in 2007.
“These figures are an indication that producers are employing judicious use principles,” said Mathews.
“As they try to gain efficiency to combat high feed costs, they are being careful to use compounds that
have no chance of impacting human health.
All antibiotics undergo a rigorous approval process at the Food and Drug Administration that includes an
assessment of safety of the product for the treated animal and safety of the milk and meat produced. In
addition, all proposed antibiotic products as well as those previously approved undergo a risk assessment
procedure, called Guidance 152, to scientifically measure the safety of the product with respect to health
hazards resulting from the spread of antibiotic resistance.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves antibiotics used in animals for four purposes:
Disease treatment, disease control and disease prevention, which are considered by FDA and the
American Veterinary Medical Association to be therapeutic, and for growth promotion.
2007 AHI Survey
Active Antibacterial Ingredients Sold by AHI Members
|Antibiotic Class||2005 Pounds||2006 Pounds||2007 Pounds|
|Ionophores, Arsenicals, Bambermycin,
Carbadox, and Tiamulin*
|Cephalosporins, macrolides, lincosamides,
polypeptides, lincosamides, polypeptides,
and other minor classes of antibiotics**
|Sulfonamides and Penicillins||1,043,645||1,198,478||1,781,172|
*Ionophores and arsenicals are unique drug products developed for animal production and not related to
traditional antibiotics. Others in this grouping are therapeutic drugs with limited or no use in human
**Grouping necessary to abide by disclosure agreements.