Ottawa – Health Canada intends to propose new measures to help minimize the global emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance among food-producing animals.
Health Canada says it also intends to strengthen regulations to encourage prudent use of antimicrobial drugs, particularly drugs that are considered medically important.
The effort is key, says Health Canada, in conserving the effectiveness of available antimicrobials.
The aim of the measures is to protect public health and food safety, and to also align Canada with other countries.
Health Canada says it has already made substantial progress in working with the pharmaceutical industry to phase out all growth promotion claims of medically important antimicrobial drugs by December 2016.
Health Canada also plans to:
• Propose amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations to address personal use importation of veterinary drugs, and strengthen the control over the importation of veterinary active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs); and
• Continue to work with stakeholders to increase the appropriate veterinary oversight with respect to access to all medically-important antimicrobial drugs that are used in livestock drinking water and feeds. This measure will require further amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations and the Feeds Regulations.
These initiatives are part of the government of Canada’s recently released Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and Use in Canada, which builds on the Federal Framework for Action announced in October 2014. The department will continue to engage partners and stakeholders while the proposed amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations are being developed and further actions on AMR are being implemented.
• Antibiotic use in animals plays an important role in ensuring animal welfare and protecting animals and public health.
• Before being authorized for sale in Canada, veterinary antibiotics are assessed by Health Canada for their potential antibiotic resistance risk.
• Health Canada specifies the conditions of use of antibiotics on the product labels and includes warning statements specific to reducing AMR.
• No new antibiotic growth promoters have been authorized by Health Canada in more than a decade.
• The Government of Canada is leading prevention and control work on antimicrobial resistance in Canada, including ongoing collaboration with our national and international partners such as the World Health Organization to advance research, policy and legislation work