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Posted: 22nd March 2024

Antibiotic Amnesty 2023 results released
Over 2,458 antibiotic tablets were returned to veterinary practices.
Antibiotic returns to practices tripled compared to 2022.

The Responsible use of Medicines Alliance – Companion Animal and Equine (RUMA CA&E) has released the results of its 2023 veterinary Antibiotic Amnesty, as part of a conference at BSAVA Congress.

The One Health Antibiotic Amnesty, which took place in November, asked veterinary practices to have discussions with their clients about responsible antibiotic use.

Clients were asked to return their unused, or partially used, packs of antibiotics to practices to ensure they were disposed of safely. The campaign raised awareness of the long term environmental effects of incorrectly disposed of medication, as well as the dangers of using leftover medications on pets.

During this year’s amnesty, over 2,458 antibiotic tablets were returned to participating veterinary practices, more than three times last year’s total.

It also saw the return of 160 oral antibiotic suspensions, 119 topical preparations containing antibiotics, and 11 antibiotic injections. Among the products returned were critically important antibiotics such as fluoroquinolones.

The 2023 amnesty had 302 practices and veterinary organisations sign up for updates about the campaign.
This is 70 per cent more participants than in 2022

This is the second year of the campaign, led by RUMA CA&E. It is run through the month of November, when the group says there is a significant amount of AMR activity.

However, the group stresses that the return of outdated and unused antibiotics should be encouraged throughout the year.

Steve Howard, RUMA CA&E secretary general, said: “We are delighted with the results of the 2023 Antibiotic Amnesty and the year-on-year uplifts in the level of returned of antibiotics, plus the increase in involvement and engagement we saw from right across the industry.

“We are fully aware of the pressures on the profession at the moment, so this increase has been great to see and we are very grateful to those that took part, but we know that there is still much work to do to get even more practices onboard in the future.”

Fergus Allerton, a campaign lead, said: “Responsibly administering antibiotics to pets only when needed represents a key stewardship goal, but any benefit can be reduced if the unused antibiotics end up polluting the environment due to unsafe or improper disposal.

“We have worked hard to ensure the Antibiotic Amnesty campaign builds all of these factors into the resources to help educate and inform pet owners, as well as drive a unified focus across the profession.”

The full campaign evaluation can be found here.

Image © Shutterstock

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