The last 50 years have seen the most rapid medical advances of the entire millennium. Last century's true revolution was undeniably the discovery of penicillin, closely followed by that of streptomycin. Antibiotics have radically changed our conceptions of medicine and have made it possible to cure illnesses that used to be deadly.
In the past few decades, research by companies in the veterinary medicine and reagent sector has been focused on four major categories: antiparasitics, vaccines, anti-infectives and anti-inflammatories. Veterinary medicine profits from advances in human medicine, and even from agronomic research; indeed, a significant number of innovations first benefited humans, before animals. This is the case with functional medicines, anti-infectives and antiparasitics, while vaccines are developed specifically for veterinary medicine.
However, the veterinary medicine industry develops its own applied research programs, specifically orienting them towards animal pathology. Thus the pharmaceutical industry makes available and keeps on the market a large therapeutic arsenal. This is the result of constant investment, 10 to 12% of its turnover, on research and development (R&D).
With globalisation, the increasing proximity of humans and animals due to growing urbanisation, and global climate change, it is necessary to quickly respond to emerging diseases and to provide therapeutic solutions to veterinarians to ensure animal health. While nearly 40% of medicines are for dogs and cats, as these animals have become members of the family over several decades, livestock production chains still account for over half of the therapeutic arsenal. Beyond the well-being of livestock, the challenge is also to nourish the planet with healthy foods, be they milk, meat or eggs. Indeed, there can be no healthy foodstuffs without healthy animals. Animal health therefore has a direct effect on public health.
Continued investment in R&D is necessary in order to supplement and renew the therapeutic arsenal in numerous priority fields, such as antibiotherapy, vaccinology and infectious diseases, in the framework of the EcoAntio plan, as well as in other fields such as cardiology, dermatology, immunology and cancerology.