THE IMPORTANCE OF DATA
Having sufficient detail on drugs use allows the industry to analyse antimicrobials at farm, species, sector, national, regional and world level.
However, the widely used and flawed method in developed countries is to monitor the weight of drugs sold each month by an audit of pharmaceutical companies.
This system, often giving data in tonnage sold does not cater to key factors effecting the use of drugs at farm level.
These factors are:
- Drug potency
- Duration of treatment
- Amount actually used rather than bought
- Species and production class within species
- Route of administration
If a scientist is given detailed information on the above bullet points, they can establish a picture of antimicrobial usage. This is not sufficient however, to assess whether drugs are being used judiciously.
Assessing judicious use requires a further step and a lot more data. Type of drug, animal species and conditions for use are needed for this.
Many health consider Defined Daily Dose to be the answer. Here, the amount of drug needed for a particular species is noted. This is used on German, Dutch and Danish farms.
The right data means the farming industry can
- Prove a reduction in antimicrobial use
- Prove a more judicious approach.
Without clear proof of the two points, governments may be forced to impose regulations restricting antimicrobials in animal husbandry. The danger would be that, without a prompt change in standard farming practice, onfarm disease risk could soar and productivity could plummet.