Antimicrobial Stewardship in the Animal Pharma Industry

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) has been declared as one of the top ten global health threats facing humanity by the World Health Organisation (WHO). It poses a systemic risk across industries and will have economic impacts that are long-term and far-reaching.

This engagement will tackle the lack of transparency from animal pharmaceutical companies over how they manufacture, market, and sell antimicrobials – practices that continue to drive high levels of antibiotic use. We will encourage seven of the world’s largest publicly listed animal pharmaceutical companies to disclose their approach to antimicrobial stewardship, including AMR mitigation efforts across four key areas: (1) Managing AMR in the Environment; (2) Sales & Marketing; (3) Research & Development; and (4) Stakeholder Engagement & Political Influence.

For more information, please contact Emma Berntman.

Phase 1 | Investor Brief

Latest Findings

In 2021, the FAIRR Initiative carried out research into the animal pharmaceutical industry. This culminated in the publication of our report, Feeding Resistance, which is now available to download.

86 %

increase in disclosed lobbying expenditure of leading animal health companies in the EU and the US

65 %

of medically important antibiotics (MIAs) are sold for use in livestock


The effect of AMR on the global economy will be significant. The World Bank forecasts that it will cause a 3.8% loss in GDP per year by 2050, directly impacting the lives of millions.

Despite the urgent need to safeguard antibiotics and preserve their efficacy, over two-thirds of the global supply is currently used in animals. Much of this is unnecessary: to increase growth rates, prevent illness and reduce mortality rates. The World Bank has, therefore, highlighted animal agriculture as a “critical frontier” for tackling AMR.

The industry’s reliance on these drugs, which enable it to produce large volumes of meat and dairy inexpensively, is being exacerbated by the animal pharmaceutical companies that produce and sell them. Overdependence puts the efficacy of these medically important drugs at risk and may harm the future revenues of animal pharmaceutical companies.

Contact:  Emma Berntman, Senior Engagement Manager 

Material Risks

Our report, Feeding Resistance: Antimicrobial Stewardship in the Animal Health Industry, revealed the link between growing AMR and the production and use of antibiotics for food-producing animals. The report highlighted how the reliance on revenue from antibiotics leaves animal pharmaceutical companies exposed to material risks, such as more stringent regulation. Such risks include the European Union’s (EU) 2022 ban on routine antibiotic use, as well as public pressure and the shifting consumer preference for meat products to be labelled as ‘Organic’ and ‘Raised Without Antibiotics’ (RWA).

To avoid these risks, we encourage companies to diversify their portfolio and practise greater transparency around how they are producing, selling and marketing antibiotics. Forward-looking companies with exposure to antibiotics will need to pre-empt changes that could limit their market access and erode consumer trust in their brands and sectors. Diversifying into alternatives, such as diagnostic tools, vaccines, nutritional supplements, and novel treatments, is a step towards limiting these risks. 


Report Push

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR): how animal pharmaceuticals are driving the next global public health crisis. Today, 70% of global antimicrobials are fed to intensively farmed…

Knowledge Hub

Antibiotics Chemical substances (for example, penicillin) which are able to inhibit the growth or destroy bacteria and other microorganisms, and which are primarily used…

18th Apr 2019 | chriscoggin