Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (976)

Michael Fitzmaurice


976. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the percentage breakdown of the level of antibiotic usage on farms via compound feed compared with the physical administration of the antibiotic by a farmer or vet in 2018, 2019 and to date in 2020, by sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38230/20]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

At present in Ireland, apart from an antimicrobial consumption database for pigs (AMUpig) which was introduced on an incremental basis in November 2019, we have sales data on the overall volume of veterinary antibiotics sold in a given year, rather than more granular sector specific usage data which would identify the animal species/categories being treated with the antibiotics.

The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) collates data on antibiotic sales for the previous year, provided to the HPRA by the marketing authorisation holders (MAHs) that market veterinary antibiotics in Ireland. Whilst this is high level data, when looking at it, one can make certain assumptions based on our knowledge of the sectors - such that intra-mammary tubes sold are used in the dairy industry and in general the premixes sold are predominantly used in the pig sector.

The most recent HPRA report relates to sales of veterinary antibiotics in Ireland in 2018 and we await publication of the sales report for 2019. The sales figures for 2020 will not be available until Q4 2021 due to a lag period between sales occurring and reporting of sales data to the HPRA from MAHs. The sales data is submitted to the EMA as part of the European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption (ESVAC) project.

The total amount of veterinary antibiotics sold by the MAHs in Ireland in 2018 was 99.4 tonnes. This represents sales data in respect of both farming and companion animals.

The 2018 data shows that the premix component (incorporated in feed) of all sales represents 29.2% of overall sales - that equates to approximately 29 tonnes.

The equivalent figure for injectables is 28.1% - equating to 27.9 tonnes.

The sales data however has its limitations as it does not reflect matters such as differences in dosage rate associated with different products or clarity regarding the species of animals in which products are used - the same product may be used across many species.

My Department is currently working to develop a National Secure Veterinary Digital Prescription System which will allow data on the antibiotics being prescribed per species and category to be collected and reported annually in line with requirements of EU Regulation 2019/6. It is planned that this will be in place by January 2022.