Study reveals high revenues of veterinarians from antimicrobial prescriptions in veal calves

August 5, 2020

Most of the turnover (54%) veterinarians generate with the veal calf sector, comes from antimicrobial prescriptions a new study co-authored by Isabel Lechner, Anaïs Léger and Katharina Stärk shows.

A survey among Swiss veterinary practices, they and researchers from the Vetsuisse Faculty Zurich performed, revealed that antibiotic reduction measures in veal calf production will have substantial economic consequences for veterinary livestock practices.

The use of antibiotics in Swiss veal production is considered an established method for controlling bacterial infectious diseases. However, increasing problems with resistant pathogens in human and veterinary medicine mean that the use of antibiotics should be significantly reduced and that they should be used more selectively.

To compensate for the reduction in income of veterinary practices, in the medium-term, a new orientation of veterinary activities towards paid consultation for prevention concepts is required.

“We are part of a research consortium that looks at alternative economic systems with which veterinarians can compensate for a loss in income if they reduce antibiotic prescriptions”, says Isabel Lechner, consultant at SAFOSO. “The new model should be largely independent of pharmaceutical sales and should promote paid counselling on herd health management and the implementation of preventive measures.”



Ökonomische Bedeutung des Umsatzes mit Antibiotika für private Nutztierpraxen in derSchweiz – Beispiel Kälbermast (Economic importance of antibiotic sale for private food animal practices in Switzerland – example veal production), J.Pont, A. Léger, I. Lechner , M. Kaske, K.D.C. Stärk, M. Feldmann (2020) Schweiz Arch Tierheilkd 162(7): 471-79 Article


Anaïs Léger now works at the Global Studies Institute (GSI) – Universityof Genève and Katharina Stärk is Head of Department Animal Health at Bundesamt für Lebensmittelsicherheit und Veterinärwesen (BLV). Both were employed by SAFOSO at the time of the study.

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