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FDA To Ban Some Antibiotics Used In Animal Production

Update Date: Dec 11, 2013 01:27 PM EST

The Food and Drug Administration has asked global drugmakers and health companies to revise labels of medically-important antibiotics to remove references to use in animal production, Reuters reported. The guidance was issued on Wednesday.

The new guidelines calls on global pharmaceutical companies to ban the use of some antibiotics. These are mainly to enhance growth in animals that are used for food. US regulators hope that the guidance will help in restricting the growth of bacterial resistance to the same drugs when they are taken by human beings.

“Because antimicrobial drug use in both humans and animals can contribute to the development of antimicrobial resistance, it is important to use these drugs only when medically necessary,” the FDA said in the release.

The experts believe that the voluntary guidelines will give drugmakers too a kind of restriction when the will be policing their own use of antibiotics.

“Our fear … is that there will be no reduction in antibiotic use as companies will either ignore the plan altogether or simply switch from using antibiotics for routine growth promotion to using the same antibiotics for routine disease prevention,” said Steven Roach, senior analyst with advocacy group Keep Antibiotics Working according to Reuters.

Within hours of the issued statements, FDA said it had already received support for the new measures from Zoetis and Elanco which are unit of Eli Lilly. Eli Lilly sells a large percentage of the products and these will subsequently will be banned.

When companies remove farm production uses of their antibiotic from the drug labels, those drugs will automatically become illegal if used for the same purpose.

However the program is voluntary, the FDA officials plan to take regulatory actions against companies that fail to comply.

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