The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has called on drug companies to help limit the use of antibiotics in pigs, poultry and other livestock within the next three years.
Under new recent FDA guidelines, antibiotics should be used ‘judiciously’, or in other words, when necessary to keep animals healthy. The agency also wants to require a vet to prescribe the antibiotics – nowadays they can still be purchased over the counter by animal farmers.
The draft recommendations by the FDA are not binding, and that is why the agency is asking pharmaceutical companies now to voluntarily put the proposed limits in place. They would need to adjust the labelling of their antibiotics to remove so-called production uses of the antibiotics.
The FDA hopes the pharmaceutical companies will phase out language promoting non-medical uses within a timeframe of three years.
William Flynn, a deputy director in the FDA’s veterinary medicine centre, told Associated Press: "Now you have a veterinarian who will be consulting and providing advice to these producers and we feel that is an important element to assure that they are in fact using these drugs appropriately."
FDA officials pointed to scientific literature, supporting the role that animal use of antibiotics plays in reducing the effectiveness of antibiotics in humans.
• Food and Drug Administration