Nearly every pharmaceutical company that makes drugs for animal use has agreed to change wording on their product labels to remove growth promotion as an acceptable use.
In December, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asked 26 pharmaceutical companies to voluntarily stop labeling drugs important for treating human infections as acceptable for growth enhancement. The agency announced last Wednesday that 25 of the companies decided to comply with their request.
These companies represent 99.6 percent of the nation's antibiotic industry in sales. They will either remove the targeted drugs from animal use completely or revise their labeling so that they could be used only with a veterinarian's prescription.
Repeated exposure to antibiotics can cause germs to become resistant, rendering an antibiotic ineffective in treating a particular illness. Some 23,000 people are dying each year from drug-resistant infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
It is unclear how much of the resistance issue is related to antibiotic use in animals, but the FDA says this change is one step towards addressing the problem. To read more about the agency's original request, view the article "New FDA policy to limit antibiotic use" in the December 16, 2013, issue of Hoard's Dairyman Intel.