Increased Momentum for Antimicrobial Stewardship: CVM Unveils Five-Year Plan

Headlines about antibiotic use in animal agriculture and criticisms of overuse are not hard to find daily in the news. Recent announcements by major quick-service food retailers around new antibiotic use policies for their beef supply chains turn up the volume on an issue that has consumers and many others concerned, and the industry is paying close attention to the path that’s being paved.

This was certainly part of the conversation at the National Institute for Animal Agriculture’s (NIAA) Antibiotic Symposium in Overland Park, KS, last November, where human and animal health experts stressed the importance of working together across all sectors of human, animal, plant and soil health. There is a shared responsibility as any use of antibiotics whether in animals or people contributes to antibiotic resistance and the rise of “super bugs.”1

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) is responsible for ensuring the safety and effectiveness of animal drugs, including antimicrobials, as part of its regulatory mission.2 CVM has taken steps to update the approved use conditions of medically important antimicrobials used for treating human disease2 and in September 2018, released a five-year plan for Supporting Antimicrobial Stewardship in Veterinary Settings.3 They’ve developed a phased plan that will be implemented over the next five years between 2019 – 2023.

As a part of the plan, the CVM’s goals include:2

  • Align antimicrobial drug product use with the principles of antimicrobial stewardship.
  • Foster stewardship of antimicrobials in veterinary settings.
  • Enhance monitoring of antimicrobial resistance and antimicrobial drug use in animals.

Learn more about the CVM goals here.

In preparation for more change, as an industry, we can work together to preserve the effectiveness of antimicrobial drugs for animals and humans and combat antimicrobial resistance.

Our shared goal is antimicrobial stewardship which can be accomplished through industry leadership and sharing best practices,” said Judson Vasconcelos, DVM, Ph.D., who heads up the Merck Animal Health Veterinary and Consumer Affairs team. “Additionally, as a priority of antimicrobial stewardship, we need to focus on prevention and look for ways to keep animals from getting sick in the first place. For a healthy animal, the best practice is to vaccinate to prevent disease.”

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) identifies core principles for developing antimicrobial stewardship plans in veterinary practice settings to include advocating for a system of care to prevent common diseases and selecting and using antimicrobial drugs judiciously.4

Learn more about the AVMA’s Steps to Address Antimicrobial Resistance here.

“Merck Animal Health is committed to improving the health and well-being of animals,” says Dr. Justin Welsh, executive director, food animal technical services for Merck Animal Health. “The responsible use of antibiotics to treat, control and prevent illness in animals is an important part of animal welfare and benefits humans by reducing the spread of disease between animals and humans. This helps facilitate a safe, efficient and sustainable food supply.”

1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Get Smart. Fast Facts. December, 2016. Accessed August 15, 2017.
2FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine. Supporting Antimicrobial Stewardship in Veterinary Settings. Goals for Fiscal years 2019-2023. September 2018. Accessed February 21, 2019.
3U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Animal & Veterinary. News & Events. CVM Updates. FDA Releases Five-Year Plan for Supporting Antimicrobial Stewardship in Veterinary Settings. September 14, 2018. Accessed February 21, 2019.
4AVMA. News & Publications. Press Room. Antimicrobial resistance: AVMA takes steps to address a critical health issue. January 9, 2018. Accessed February 21, 2019.