According to the information disclosed by the Federal Ministry in Berlin, holdings which use disproportionately high levels of antibiotics will not only face stronger surveillance in the future; the competent authorities will also be empowered to oblige holdings that use a conspicuously high number of drugs to submit a farm-specific minimisation plan.
The root causes for the excessive use of antibiotics are frequently fundamental hygiene problems or management errors, which can thus be addressed and remedied in a targeted manner.
To recognise irregularities in the use of antibiotics more quickly and to establish legally secure benchmarks, authorities need to have quick access to the holdings’ documentation of the medication given. The talks with the Länder will focus on how this access to data can be established in an unbureaucratic, effective and legally secure manner. As has already been reported, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture is preparing a comprehensive amendment of the German Drug Act (AMG), in order to continue to tighten the legal provisions this year. Thus the Länder surveillance authorities will, for monitoring purposes, be given broader access to the data on the quantities of antibiotics that have been dispensed; this will also facilitate better planning of the surveillance. Moreover, upon request by the surveillance authorities, veterinarians will be required to transmit a summary of all data regarding the sale and administration of antibiotics. This will make the surveillance work much easier and will simplify and speed up controls. It is planned to drastically restrict the possibility of the off-label use of antibiotics that are also of great importance in human medicine. This would mean that in future medicinal products for human use would only be able to be used as veterinary drugs, i.e. beyond the scope of their authorisation, under special conditions. In addition, the exchange of information between authorities will be significantly improved: It will be made compulsory for authorities that monitor establishments, for instance with regard to animal welfare and food hygiene, to pass on any data and findings that suggest there has been an infringement of the medicinal regulations to the bodies responsible for the monitoring of veterinary drugs.
February, 2012/ Federal Ministry of Food Agriculture and Consumer protection/ Germany.