Colistin: reduce use in animals, says EMA

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has updated its 2013 scientific advice on the use in animals of the antibiotic colistin.

The new advice was requested by the European Commission following the discovery of a new mechanism of resistance in bacteria to colistin (caused by the mcr-1 gene), with the potential to spread rapidly.

EFSA contributed to the work of its sister agency by providing data submitted by EU Member States on the occurrence of resistance to colistin in E. coli and Salmonella from food and food-producing animals, taking part in meetings of the working group, and contributing to scientific discussions.

EMA experts advise that Member States minimise sales of colistin for use in animals, and that colistin be used only to treat clinical conditions for which there are no effective alternative treatments.

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