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Animal Medicines: Change To Sales

UK - New controls to reassure people that the medicines they buy for their animals are safe have been announced by the Veterinary Medicine Directorate (VMD).

The controls will mean that only approved websites will be legally allowed to dispense and supply veterinary medicinal products. Customers will be able to see the approved status of veterinary medicine websites by looking out for a logo which all registered websites will display.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has welcomed the tightening up of sales of veterinary medicines on the internet but is disappointed that the advertising of antimicrobials to farmers will continue.

The new regulations, which come into force in April 2011, introduce new controls on internet pharmacies meaning that only approved websites will be legally allowed to dispense and supply veterinary medicines. The BVA has previously expressed concern that pet owners could inadvertently buy counterfeit veterinary medicines online and urges veterinary clients to seek advice from their vet and only buy from UK-based companies.

In light of increasing concerns about the growth of antimicrobial resistance the VMD’s consultation canvassed views on restricting the advertising of antimicrobials to farmers. The BVA supported this measure as a sensible approach to the responsible use of antimicrobials. The BVA is therefore disappointed that the VMD has decided not to go ahead with the ban on advertising.

Harvey Locke, President of the BVA, said: “New antimicrobials are heavily advertised by pharmaceutical companies to vets and farmers so it is vital that the message of responsible use is not lost. Antimicrobial resistance is a serious issue for both animal and human health and we are disappointed that the VMD is not restricting the advertising of these products to farmers. The pharmaceutical companies must now undertake to advertise responsibly.

“Ultimately, it is the veterinary surgeon who will make the decision on which veterinary products to use and vets and farmers should work together to ensure antimicrobials are used prudently and responsibly.”

The summary of responses to the VMD consultation is available by clicking here.

the Fish Site Editor

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