Switzerland has compulsory stocks of antibiotic veterinary medicinal products which cover normal requirements for two months.
Compulsory stocks are used to ensure that sufficient quantities of antibiotics can continue to be used appropriately in the event of a shortage, thereby reducing the risk of antibiotic resistance developing. Excessive and improper use of antibiotics can lead to the emergence of resistant bacteria, and these can also be transmitted to humans. In order to minimise the risk of this occurring, the Strategy on Antibiotic Resistance Switzerland (StAR) has been drawn up. The strategy defines a list of first-line antibiotics available to veterinarians to treat farm animals. In the event of a shortage of these first-line antibiotics, the compulsory stocks provide reserves to bridge the shortage in the short term and thus ensure the appropriate use of antibiotics.
Since supply bottlenecks for veterinary medicines are occurring with increased frequency, these compulsory stocks ensure additional security of supply, at least in the short term. Only selected antibiotics are kept in the compulsory stocks of veterinary medicinal products (Ordinance on the compulsory stockpiling of medicinal products SR 531.215.31).
Compulsory stockpiling can also help to ensure that Switzerland has an adequate supply of veterinary medicines to comply with the Swiss Animal Welfare Act (AniWA), albeit in a modest way, as only antibiotics are held.