Fewer antibiotics in veterinary medicine

Bern, 20.09.2011 - Fewer antibiotics for veterinary medicine were sold in Switzerland in 2010 than in the previous year. But there was an increase in the sale of individual classes of antibiotics that are also important in human medicine. Nevertheless, the situation has remained stable with regard to the frequency of the major types of resistance.

If there were more cases of resistance, there would also be a greater risk of antibiotics losing their efficacy in humans or animals. It is for this reason that antibiotic resistance in livestock has been monitored in Switzerland since 2006 and data gathered on the sale of antibiotics.

Resistance trends

In Switzerland‘s livestock population, the resistance situation has remained stable overall in the bacteria studied. However, there has been a slight increase in resistance to (fluoro)quinolones. This trend is disconcerting, because fluoroquinolones are among the most important classes of antibiotics in veterinary and human medicine and should be used with caution.

Sales data

Data on the sale of antibiotics are gathered from wholesalers. In 2010 a total of 66 metric tons of active substance was sold. Sulphonamides, tetracyclines and penicillins are the biggest groups of active substance, accounting for around 55 metric tons.
The sale of medicated premixes, which are administered to livestock in the feed, account for a good two-thirds of the total sold.
Fluoroquinolones are only sold in small quantities. But they may account for a large proportion in a few isolated production segments. For example, if broilers are treated for bacterial diseases, fluoroquinolones are used in more than 70% of cases.

Address for enquiries

on resistance monitoring:
Federal Veterinary Office
Regula Kennel, Head of Communications
Tel: 031 323 84 96

on sales statistics
Olivier Flechtner, Market Monitoring of Medicines
Tel. 031 322 04 62


Federal veterinary office (FVO) - as from 2013 in the FDHA

Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products