FDA launches interactive summary of biomass-adjusted antimicrobial sales data

FDA encouraging the judicious use of antimicrobials
calendar icon 9 December 2022
clock icon 2 minute read

The US Food and Drug Administration recently launched an Interactive Summary of Biomass-Adjusted Antimicrobial Sales Data. The display applies a biomass denominator to adjust existing annual antimicrobial sales and distribution data for medically important antimicrobial drugs sold or distributed for use in food-producing animals - cattle, swine, chickens, and turkeys - in the United States for years 2016 to 2020. 

Animal biomass is defined as the population of a given livestock species in the US multiplied by the average weight of that species. In this method, a biomass denominator adjusts annual antimicrobial sales data to account for the size of the population of a given livestock species in the US potentially being treated with those drugs.

The interactive summary allows users to customize data visualizations using criteria such as antimicrobial drug class, species, and year.

Biomass-adjusted sales estimates allow for interpretation of antimicrobial sales trends relative to the US livestock population and animal drug approvals. While biomass-adjusted sales data are helpful for estimating the amounts of antimicrobials introduced into the marketplace each year, they do not reflect actual antimicrobial use and should not be used to make comparisons between animal species or drug classes. The antimicrobial sales data are sourced from the FDA annual reports on estimated sales of antimicrobials for food-producing animals. Animal population and average weight statistics used to calculate animal biomass come from US Department of Agriculture databases.

FDA published a concept paper for public comment in 2017 that proposed the use of a biomass denominator to adjust annual data on the amount of antimicrobials sold for use in food-producing animals in the United States. This new interactive summary is consistent with the approach proposed in the concept paper while incorporating some of the feedback collected through stakeholder comments about how to make the biomass-adjusted data available to the public.

Analyzing antimicrobial sales data using tools like the biomass denominator supports FDA’s ongoing efforts to encourage the judicious use of antimicrobials in food-producing animals and to help ensure the continued availability of safe and effective antimicrobials for animals and humans. FDA plans to update the data in the interactive summary annually following publication of each annual sales summary report.

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