In a world where animals sometimes still fall ill due to bacterial infections, and effective alternative tools are limited, antibiotics play an important role in the well-being and health of both pets and farm animals.
At Bayer, we firmly believe that it is essential for antibiotics to be used responsibly so that they remain effective now and in the future. Our commitment is evidenced through the binding responsible use principles that guide our business practices. We also actively engage with veterinarians, pet owners, livestock professionals and relevant organizations around the world to encourage the prudent use of antibiotics.
Antibiotics are medicinal products that need to be handled with greatest responsibility. Such “responsible use” is synonymous with “prudent use” or “judicious use”. It does not simply mean using less antibiotics. It means using the right antibiotic upon diagnosis of a bacterial infection in an animal, in the necessary dose, for the appropriate duration and with veterinary oversight. This applies to all classes of antibiotics.
Antibiotics and farm animals
Farm animals make a major contribution to people and communities around the world. Yet sometimes, despite all possible measures of good husbandry, hygiene, biosecurity and vaccination, infectious bacterial diseases in farm animals cannot be avoided.
Today, livestock professionals around the world strive to reduce or even omit the use of antibiotics in production more than ever before. Yet, they also have an ethical responsibility to ensure that the animals in their keep receive the best possible care and treatment if they are ill, in the interest of animal well-being and health. And while effective alternative tools are limited, the availability of effective antibiotics remains essential.
At Bayer, we are a strong advocate for responsible use principles towards protecting the future effectiveness of antibiotics. To this end, we engage with livestock professionals and other relevant stakeholders globally on the basis of our six principles to antibiotics and farm animals:
At Bayer, we believe that animals in the care of humans should be handled responsibly and that they deserve treatment with an effective antibiotic if they are ill with a bacterial infection. In the interest of animal well-being and health, the already limited treatment options in veterinarians’ medical kits should be kept available to address medical needs, until alternative approaches are available.
Antibiotics are an important resource and it is a collective responsibility to safeguard their effectiveness, now and in the future. Holistic antibiotic stewardship programs that are designed to reduce the overall need for, and use of, antibiotics in both human and veterinary medicine are essential to address the global antimicrobial resistance (AMR) challenge. We are convinced that efforts that focus only on restricting or banning the use of specific antibiotics or classes in veterinary medicine are counterproductive.
To us, antibiotics are medicinal products, and using them responsibly means that the right antibiotic should be used only for therapeutic purposes after diagnosis, in the necessary dose and for the appropriate duration, with veterinary oversight.
For many years, we have actively promoted prudent antibiotic use principles to veterinarians and farmers, particularly sensitivity monitoring and compliance with label instructions. We have also supported them in reducing the overall need for antibiotics through preventative measures, for example by improving biosecurity.
Bayer has implemented global policies according to responsible antibiotic use principles. We do not market any systemic antibiotics for routine prevention or growth promotion. We have voluntarily withdrawn from the market antibiotics that do not have a therapeutic indication.
Bayer pioneered fluoroquinolones, an important class of antibiotics in veterinary medicine, and we have stringent guidelines that regulate its marketing according to responsible use principles. Due to concerns of possible resistance development resulting from non-therapeutic use or potential under-dosing, we oppose any use of fluoroquinolones in-feed or in aquaculture.
We also run resistance monitoring programmes in many countries. We actively encourage and support authorities to take action against indiscriminate and illegal use of fluoroquinolones, including counterfeits and inappropriate administration
Bayer is committed to innovation and has a long history of bringing new and improved solutions for the health and well-being of animals. Our novel immunostimulant, for example, is a non-antibiotic tool to mitigate infectious diseases and reduce the need for antibiotics in animals.
Bayer firmly believes that continued innovation of novel antibiotic molecules as well as alternatives to antibiotics is essential in order to ensure that the world continues to have a viable range of therapies. This is why we invest up to 10% of our revenue into research and development related activities
Bayer pioneered fluoroquinolones, an important class of antibiotics in veterinary medicine. To drive antibiotic stewardship, we implemented stringent guidelines that regulate its marketing according to responsible use principles over a decade ago.