A new way to monitor and manage antibiotic use

Tuesday, 26 July 2022

Medicine Hub, the new industry-wide initiative will gather medicine use data from UK cattle and sheep enterprises to help compare usage and tackle antimicrobial resistance.

Vets together with farmers, set ambitious targets for antibiotic use that have been adopted by RUMA (Responsible Use of Antibiotics in Agriculture alliance) targets task force. For dairy, a target of 95% of UK farms centrally reporting antibiotic use by 2024 has been set, something that is ambitious but realistic provided the industry acts now.

“Producers in the UK work hard to achieve high levels of health and welfare, while using antibiotics responsibly; something the industry is rightly proud of.” says vet Mandy Nevel from AHDB who have been instrumental in the development of Medicine Hub 

“However, even though individual farms must record medicine use, until now there has been no central online resource for doing so at a national level,” she adds. “Knowing what we are using at a national level is increasingly important for our domestic and international markets and Medicine Hub will allow the industry to do this and to defend its reputation.

“For this reason, even if you have very little antibiotics in the last calendar year, this information is important to capture as, once collated, it will impact on the national figures as well as helping the industry achieves its targets” Mandy Nevel adds.

Medicine Hub is an industry-wide initiative supported by industry representative organisations, milk buyers, food processors, retailers and the veterinary profession.  The Hub was developed by AHDB at the request of industry.

“The milk and meat producing industry must continue to strive for responsible antibiotic use as we all, globally, battle antimicrobial resistance,” Dr Nevel explains. “Of course, antibiotics have a role in managing the health of animals and should be used appropriately. We really need to understand what is being used and what rate and in which categories of animal; Medicine Hub will provide this facility.”

How do data get onto Medicine Hub?

One way of getting farm data on the hub is from vet practice software/records, but only after producers have given the appropriate permission to their veterinary practice. This is a hassle-free way for farmers and is also quicker for the practice. It is important to note that the data will always belong to the farmer.

“It is possible for farmers to register on the Hub and upload data, but it is easier to get your vet practice or other large data holder with whom your farm business shares medicine data to do this for you,” adds Mandy Nevel.

Once uploaded, information will only be reported by Medicine Hub as aggregated, anonymised data. Only the account holder and the practice will be able to look in detail at your account. Data will only be shared further if you give specific permission to do so on the Hub.

If your medicine data is already being collected by farm management software, or by your milk buyer, ask whether they can link this to Medicine Hub.

What are the benefits?

“There are two levels of benefit really,” she explains. “For the industry as a whole; we know that the UK is the fifth lowest user of antibiotics in food-producing animals in Europe, we now need to evidence that for each sector.”

“Meanwhile for you, the farmer and your business, there’s another set of benefits with the reports Medicine Hub produces,” Dr Nevel says. “Reports can illustrate what, why and when antibiotics have been used on your farm and how use on your farm compares with similar farms.  You can then discuss with your vet and really make a difference to the health of your animals.”

The pig sector started sharing its data with an online hub in 2016 and now 95% of medicines are recorded. This is extremely powerful information when talking to consumers, supermarkets and, beyond that, critical in trade negotiations.

Being able to make the step towards evidence-based planning and decision making will be a big step forward as milk and meat producers play an important part in the fight to use antibiotics responsibly as we all battle AMR (antimicrobial resistance).

“In addition, demonstrating responsible use will help safeguard antibiotics and their use in the future; something we certainly don’t want to jeopardise,” she remarks.

What do I do next?

Register on Medicine Hub or ask your vet to do this for you, if your vet does this for you, they already have permission for step four.


I want to set up my Medicine Hub account myself

I want my vet to help me set up my account


Go to medicinehub.org.uk and click the register button, you just need your email address and contact details to sign up.

Ask your vet to set up your account. You will receive an email asking you to give permission to them, they can then take over.


Link your CTS account to Medicine Hub if you want Medicine Hub to calculate your herd population data, the earlier you do this the sooner Medicine Hub can use the CTS data


Set up your enterprises on Medicine Hub, e.g. dairy and sheep.

Your vet can set up your enterprises on Medicine Hub


Enter your data from your own records or use the third party permissions screen to give permission to your vet to do it for you.

Ask your vet to start entering your data, they may be able to use practice records to populate what you have purchased, if you have not linked to CTS, they may need your help to enter cow numbers for each quarter

Then, set the third party permissions so that the practice can access the account and update it for you.  If you instruct the practice to register you to your specified email address, you will receive an automated email from the Hub notifying that an account has been requested in your name, and asking you to grant third party permission so that the practice can proceed with data upload.

Further information and support

For more information, go to https://www.medicinehub.org.uk . There is also information there explaining how to start and what to do if you want your vet, software provider or other data holder to share data on your behalf. Further support is available from a dedicated bureau service at medicinehub@ahdb.org.uk (Tel 02477 719 414).

Image of staff member Mandy Nevel

Mandy Nevel

Head of Animal Health and Welfare

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