US FDA CONSIDERS ANTIBIOTICS BAN ON LIVESTOCKNovember 5th, 2019
IN a Sept 2019 draft document providing guidance to veterinarians, the US’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed banning over-the-counter sales of more than 100 drugs used on animals, including antibiotics and formulations such as cephapirin, penicillin G procaine, sulfamethazine and tetracycline. According to the guidance, the ban would take at least two years to implement the FDA says. The FDA proposes that livestock producers obtain veterinary prescriptions for these medications, when and if they want to continue their use. In proposing the ban, the FDA is aiming to reduce the use of medically-important antimicrobials in animal agriculture and ensure that they are only used when necessary for the treatment, control or prevention of specific diseases. By making these drugs prescription-only, the ban would ensure that these drugs are administered to animals under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. We’d like to assess what the impact this would make on day-to-day farm operations, focusing on food animal farms. For example, experts say dairy farmers may be impacted the most, though these farmers already have in place established written protocols when they use antibiotics. FDA is accepting comments on the proposal until December 24, 2019. It will then issue a final guidance, followed by a two-year implementation period.