BSAC calls for global measures to prevent the overuse of antibiotics in people and animals

The British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC) is calling for key global measures to reduce the overuse of antibiotics in people and animals. These measures will reduce antibiotic resistance (AMR), improve medical and veterinary practice and animal welfare.

The range of measures proposed, which are published in 2 key policy statements Use of antibiotics in people and Use of antibiotics in animals, include:

  • A global ban on the sale of antibiotics without a prescription and their direct marketing and selling to consumers via the internet.
  • Improving access to essential antibiotics and vaccines for those living in resource-poor societies and for persons with a severe infection.
  • A global ban on the use of all antibiotic growth promoters in animals.
  • Not using any new classes of antibiotic in animals; reserving them for human use only.
  • Providing consumers with information on food packaging to allow them to identify when antibiotics have been used in food production.

Professor Laura Piddock, BSAC Chair in Public Engagement, Director of Antibiotic Action and Professor of Microbiology, University of Birmingham said:  “Adopting a One Health approach and encouraging inter-disciplinary partnerships to share best practices between human and veterinary medicine, academia and industry are vital if we are to tackle the global problem of AMR. By working together we can reduce inappropriate use of antibiotics in people and animals and extend and safeguard the future of antibiotics for future generations.”

Professor Dilip Nathwani, OBE, BSAC President and Honorary Professor of Infection at the University of Dundee and Consultant Physician in NHS Tayside saidThe Society is committed to reducing antibiotic resistance by informing all audiences of the importance of tackling AMR by calling for all sectors to act now. These two statements represent the first in series of policy recommendations on antibiotic use, through which we aspire to educate and lever change at the highest clinical, governmental and public levels, supporting the global education provided by the Massive Open Online Course on Antimicrobial Stewardship https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/antimicrobial-stewardship .”

 President of the British Veterinary Association Sean Wensley said: “BVA welcomes BSAC’s focus on the use of antibiotics in animals and the sound principles conveyed in BSAC’s policy statement. Tackling the pressing issue of AMR is a top priority across the veterinary profession and the input of veterinary surgeons to the statement has provided another good example of inter-professional One Health working, which we fully support and encourage. The statement resonates with several areas of ongoing BVA activity to address AMR, for example the desire to identify and promote best practice to optimise animal welfare and minimise the need for therapeutic medication in livestock. There is much good veterinary-led work happening to achieve this, but we cannot be complacent and examples of best practice must continue to be used to motivate and facilitate ever-higher standards.”

The British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC)
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