Health Canada Proposes New Measures to Address Antibiotic Resistance

The federal agency will propose amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations to address personal use importation of veterinary drugs and strengthen controls over the importation of veterinary active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Health Canada announced that it will propose new measures and strengthen its regulations to encourage the prudent use of antimicrobial drugs used in food-producing animals, particularly drugs that are considered medically important, with the agency stating that this is important to minimize the global emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance and align with other countries.

The federal agency already has made progress working with the pharmaceutical industry to phase out all growth promotion claims of medically important antimicrobial drugs by December 2016. Now, Health Canada will propose amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations to address personal use importation of veterinary drugs and strengthen controls over the importation of veterinary active pharmaceutical ingredients.

These initiatives are part of the Government of Canada's recently released Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance and Use in Canada, which builds on the Federal Framework for Action announced in October 2014.

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.

"Health Canada continues to work with stakeholders towards the common goal of minimizing the emergence of global antimicrobial resistance by putting in place better controls over antimicrobial use in food-producing animals. The measures we are announcing today reflect our commitment to the important issue of antimicrobial resistance and to keeping our food supply safe," said Minister of Health Rona Ambrose.

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