The emergence of antimicrobial resistance in human and veterinary bacterial pathogens has led to concerns regarding the use of antimicrobials in veterinary medicine. Consequently, regulatory agencies have developed procedures for assessing the risk associated with the use of a specific antimicrobial as part of the drug approval process. Due consideration for the importance (priority categorization) of the antimicrobial to human medicine is part of this risk assessment process. Additionally, nongovernmental organizations have developed antimicrobial categorization schemes to protect the use and effectiveness of these medicines. However, the goals and methods of the various categorization schemes vary, resulting in final categorizations that are different. Although harmonizing these schemes would bring clarity to antimicrobial resistance discussions and policy, it has the disadvantage of not accounting for regional antimicrobial resistance and use, potentially removing effective medicines from clinical use in situations where they are wholly appropriate. Antimicrobials should be classified in a One Health manner, where both physician and veterinarian share the responsibility for antimicrobial use. The purpose of this article is to summarize current antimicrobial categorization schemes using illustrative examples to highlight differences and provide perspectives on the impact of the current schemes and future directions. © 2020 Zoetis LLC. Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.