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How Can Pharmacists Help Decrease Antibiotic Use in Agriculture Animals?


Emily Heil, PharmD, BCPS-AQ ID, assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, discusses how pharmacists can help decrease antibiotic use in agriculture animals.

 Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

“Where can pharmacists come into play? I think one of the most important things pharmacists can do is just be informed consumers and help spread that information to the general public because consumers drive the retail market, and if we demand meat that’s been raised without antibiotics, then hopefully the market will come to meet the demands.
I would encourage all pharmacists to look for USDA-backed labels when they’re shopping for meat that was raised without antibiotics. There are USDA-backed claims, there’s a group called Keep Antibiotics Working that offers some guidance of which restaurants and fast food chains use meat that was raised without antibiotics. I think consumerism is really one of the most important things that you can do [as well as just] spreading that information with the public. I think a lot of people don’t realize that there is this issue of antibiotic-use in agriculture that’s affecting human health, and so, just educating the public to be informed consumers is a really important role for pharmacists.
Another thing you can do, which we’ve done internally at the hospital I work at, is try and encourage your hospital and healthcare system to purchase meat that was raised responsibly, because hospitals make up a very large sector in terms of the meat-buying industry, and so, [that is] just another step that people can take to help drive that market in the right direction.”
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