Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Wednesday it will restrict animal pharmaceutical companies’ sale and distribution of antibiotics for livestock feed use.
The FDA said it wanted the use of antibiotics only when medically necessary instead of adding them to animal feed or drinking water to grow cattle, hogs, poultry and other food-producing animals faster. The move aims to prevent bacteria from developing resistance to antimicrobials, which the agency considers a public health threat. Medicines used to treat antibacterial infection are ineffective against drug-resistance bacteria.
“We need to be selective about the drugs we use in animals and when we use them,” says William Flynn, deputy director for science policy at FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM). “Antimicrobial resistance may not be completely preventable, but we need to do what we can to slow it down.”
The FDA issued on Wednesday guidelines on how animal pharmaceutical companies can voluntarily remove growth enhancement and feed efficiency indications from the approved uses of their medically important antimicrobial drug products. The antimicrobials can only be used to treat, prevent or control disease.
The guidelines will also require veterinary approval and prescription for use of such drugs, which are currently easily purchased over the counter.
The agency is asking animal pharmaceutical companies to notify FDA within the next three months of their intent to voluntarily make the changes recommended in the guidance. After notifying the FDA, the companies have three years to fully implement the changes.