Are we using drugs in pigs in the right way?

Dr. Lorenzo Fraile

Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Pharmacology,
University of Lleida,


Lorenzo Fraile is a DVM (1992) and obtained a PhD (1996) in Veterinary Pharmacology at the Veterinary Faculty of Zaragoza, Spain. Afterwards, he worked as a swine practitioner for eight years in pig producing companies. From 2004 to 2010, he worked as senior researcher at CReSA ( focusing his work on porcine bacterial and viral diseases. From 2010 to nowadays, he has been working as Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Pharmacology at the University of Lleida (UdL), Spain. His research interests include epidemiology, pharmacology and immunology focused on developing new tools to control bacterial and viral diseases in livestock. He is member of the European College of Porcine Health and Management and European expert to evaluate drugs and vaccines for animals in the European Union ( He has published ninety-eight papers in peer-review journals. His e-mail address is and complementary information is available at


Efficient pig production is based on establishing preventive programs for bacterial, viral and parasitic diseases. These programs include the use of vaccines and/or drugs to manage them in an efficient way. In this keynote lecture, it will be addressed if drugs are used in the right way in pig medicine with a special focus on management of bacterial diseases.

The main families of drugs available for pigs are antimicrobials, antiparasitics, anti-inflammatories and hormones. Under the European legislation, any drug must be used in a veterinary medicinal product (VMP) that is registered across Europe (through European Medicine Agency) or only in single countries following national registration procedures. In all the cases, the use of any veterinary medicinal product is clearly specified in the summary of products characteristics (SPC). Thus, safety for the user and target animal, food safety and efficacy issues are detailed in this document. A new legislation has been recently approved for veterinary medicinal products in Europe (EU/2019/6) where special attention has been addressed to antimicrobials because the great worldwide concern about one-health issues in the treatment of bacterial diseases in humans.

The objective of antimicrobial therapy is to provide an effective drug to obtain a fast clinical recovery from the infection in affected animals but reducing the probability of generating antimicrobial resistance and avoiding the appearance of undesired effects as much as possible. There are many recommendations about prudent use of antimicrobials in Europe coming from official sources (2015/C299/04) or from federations of veterinarians in Europe. The problem arise how to tackle these recommendations with the daily practice. These points will be discussed taking into account the new European legislation for VMPs, mainly for antimicrobials, that the practitioner needs to address in his/her daily practice.