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CVMA Supports Health Canada’s Move to Propose New Measures to Address Antimicrobial Resistance

April 17, 2015

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) supports Health Canada’s announcement today in its intention to propose new measures and strengthen regulations that encourages prudent use of antimicrobial drugs used in food-producing animals, particularly ones that are considered medically important.

“CVMA has had a long-standing policy expressing concern for the unregulated importation and use of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients in animal agriculture, which poses a potential risk to Canadian public health and food safety,” says Dr. Jean Gauvin, CVMA President. “The announcement today is a major step forward to address our growing concerns surrounding antimicrobial resistance that are related to the unnecessary use.”

The announcement comes on the heels of a meeting earlier this month hosted by Veterinary Drugs Directorate with human and animal health stakeholders including the CVMA. The discussion focused on promoting the prudent use of medically-important antimicrobial drugs in food animal production.

CVMA holds that successful antimicrobial stewardship involves the prudent use of antimicrobials. In 2008, CVMA developed guidelines for beef cattle, dairy cattle, poultry and swine to aid in antimicrobial selection. The association supports the progress that Health Canada has made in working with the pharmaceutical industry to phase out all growth promotion claims of medically-important antimicrobial drugs.

CVMA also supports Health Canada’s plan to make amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations, as seen in its Notice of Intent, that will address personal use importation of veterinary drugs, and to strengthen the control over the importation of veterinary active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). 

For many years, CVMA has advocated to have veterinary drug importation ‘loopholes’ closed to allow Canada to have complete regulatory control of such products. It also believes that extending veterinary oversight over antimicrobial drug use in Canada is needed in conjunction with regulatory changes. You may read the following position statements for further details:

CVMA looks forward to viewing the details of the plans with other stakeholders that implement the requirement to increase veterinary oversight of medically-important antimicrobial drugs used in livestock feed and in water by the December 2016 deadline, and ensuring Canada will be aligned with similar initiatives in other countries.