Antibiotics are heavily affected by issues of shortage or lack of availability, in both human and veterinary medicine. This can be due to a number of factors, such as problems with the supply of raw materials, production stoppages or difficulties, maintaining marketing authorisations for drugs whose patents have fallen into the public domain, etc. The unavailability of certain antibiotics has serious consequences: when a first-line antibiotic is no longer available, human and animal health professionals have to turn to other antibiotics, which may present a higher risk of inducing antimicrobial resistance or be considered critical for human health, and should therefore be used with caution.
This is a particular problem in animal health, where it is difficult to develop new antibiotic compounds because these are generally reserved for human medicine. It is therefore essential to be able to maintain the existing therapeutic arsenal.
How to ensure the availability of antibiotics
ANSES, and more specifically its French Agency for Veterinary Medicinal Products (ANMV), will be actively participating in a new project initiated by the French government. This aims to "ensure the availability of antibiotics in human and veterinary medicine while preserving the environment". It will be funded by the European Commission and undertaken by the WHO. The project will seek to identify the causes of antibiotic supply shortages in France and suggest practical solutions to combat these unavailabilities, while avoiding environmental pollution during the production of these drugs. ANMV is taking part in the management of the project and will provide the necessary contacts and data on veterinary antibiotics. The project will begin in November and run for three years. Besides ANSES, it is being coordinated by the Ministries of Ecological Transition, Economy and Finance, Health, Research and Agriculture, as well as the French Health Products Safety Agency (ANSM).