Policy ForumSCIENCE AND REGULATION

One Health approach to use of veterinary pharmaceuticals

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Science  12 Dec 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6215, pp. 1296-1298
DOI: 10.1126/science.1260260

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Summary

An estimated 6051 tons of active substances went into the production of veterinary pharmaceuticals (VPs) for the treatment of food animals in the European Union (EU) in 2004, including 5393 tons of antibiotics and 194 tons of antiparasitics (1). With global meat production projected to increase (2) and the growing market for companion animal pharmaceuticals (3), the use of VPs will continue to increase. Although VPs may benefit the health and welfare of domestic animals and the efficiency of food animal production, they can contaminate the environment through manufacturing, treatment of animals, and disposal of carcasses, offal, urine, feces, and unused products (4) (see the chart). This contamination is a threat to nontarget species, including humans. With Spain having recently authorized marketing of a VP that was banned in South Asia in the past decade in light of environmental impacts, we recommend strengthening of current procedures and addition of a more proactive, holistic, One Health approach applicable to all VPs.