The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine published the 2021 Summary Report on Antimicrobials Sold or Distributed for Use in Food-Producing Animals. This year's report shows that domestic sales and distribution of medically important antimicrobial drugs approved for use in food-producing animals decreased by less than 1% between 2020 and 2021. Since the significant decrease in sales volume in 2017, annual sales of medically important antimicrobials have remained at reduced levels. Compared to 2015 (peak year of sales), 2021 sales decreased 38%.
FDA recognizes that fluctuations in sales volume may occur over time in response to various factors, including changing animal health needs or changes in animal populations. Given the substantial change that occurred with transitioning a large number of products containing medically important antimicrobials from over-the-counter use to a marketing status requiring veterinary oversight at the beginning of 2017, some rebound in the reported sales volume in subsequent years was not unexpected as affected stakeholders adjusted to the new requirements.
While sales data on antimicrobial drug products intended for food-producing animals do not necessarily reflect the actual use of antimicrobial drugs, sales volume observed over time can be a valuable indicator of market trends related to these products. However, when evaluating the progress of ongoing efforts to support judicious use of antimicrobials, it is important to take into account additional information sources including actual use data, animal demographics, animal health data, and data on antimicrobial resistance.
FDA's objective is to slow the development of antimicrobial resistance and preserve the effectiveness of antimicrobials for fighting disease in animals and humans. The agency's aim is not solely measured by reduced sales volume of antimicrobials, but also includes placing these products under veterinary oversight, fostering good antimicrobial stewardship practices by optimizing the use of these products, and limiting their use to only when necessary to treat, control or prevent disease.