Using antibiotics responsibly
Antibiotics are essential in preserving the well-being and health of pets and farm animals. Given their importance, antibiotics should always be used responsibly in order to protect their effectiveness for future generations. This does not simply mean using less. It means using the right antibiotic upon diagnosis of a bacterial infection, in the necessary dose, for the appropriate duration, and always with veterinary oversight.
At Bayer, we actively engage with veterinarians, pet owners, livestock professionals and relevant organizations around the world to encourage the prudent use of antibiotics. Our commitment to responsible antibiotic use in animals is woven into the responsible use principles that guide our business practices.
Antibiotics and farm animals
Farm animals make a major contribution to people and communities around the world. But sometimes – despite 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. But they also have an ethical responsibility to ensure animals in their care receive the best possible treatment if they are ill. And while effective alternative tools are limited, the availability of effective antibiotics remains essential.
Our six principles to antibiotics and farm animals
Treat sick animals for animal well-being
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.
Mitigating antimicrobial resistance is a collective responsibility
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.
The right antibiotic at the right dose for the right duration
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.
Antibiotics for therapeutic use
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.
Drive antibiotic stewardship
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.
Innovate in novel antibiotics and alternatives
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.