Antibiotic sales in NZ consistent
The New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) has published a report
providing an update of antibiotic sales figures from
According to the NZFSA, total sales of prescription veterinary medicines
containing antibiotics in 2006/07 have decreased to levels similar to the
2002/03 year, and are down 11.9% on 2005/06 sales.
prescription veterinary medicines containing antibiotics are required to provide
an annual summary of sales to NZFSA as a condition of registration. The NZFSA
then uses this information to look for trends in sales and to help in the
development of risk management policy.
"The sales information provides a
snapshot of registered veterinary antibiotics of interest," said NZFSA Director
Agricultural Chemicals and Veterinary Medicines, Debbie Morris. "For example, we
would want to know if there was an increase, say, in the use of certain
antibiotics that might get into the food chain and decrease antibiotic
effectiveness in humans. However, the data presented over a 5-year period shows
no trends that would indicate antibiotics are not being used as
Antibiotic zinc bacitracin
Most of the fluctuation
in sales over the last three years has been driven by sales of zinc bacitracin,
which still represents 36% of all antibiotic by weight, 94% of antibiotic usage
in the pig and poultry category, and 93% of in-feed and water usage. Zinc
bacitracin is an antibiotic that has been in use since the 1940s and is approved
for animal use in many countries. While it has uses in humans (mainly as a
topical antibiotic applied as a cream) it is not considered a vital medicine for
"Increased sales or use cannot be interpreted as increased
prescribing frequency without considering changes to the animal populations,"
said Morris. "Large variations in sales are most likely to occur with products
that are used in small quantities to manage disease outbreaks. Any changes that
might represent a significant alteration have been highlighted in the
Morris said that while the latest report does not show any
trends of concern, the information is still very useful. "In gathering this
data, NZFSA is in a unique position to be able to see the big picture of
antibiotic use across the sectors. It's heartening in the latest data to find no
cause for concern."
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