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Proposals To Ban Direct Advertising Of Antibiotics

UK - Direct advertising of antimicrobial veterinary products (antibiotics) to farmers could be stopped, under new rules being considered by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate.

In a bid to reduce antimicrobial resistance, the Directorate feels that banning advertising of these products to farmers will put less pressure on veterinarians to prescribe modern treatment, leaving them free to use still effective older developments.

The consultation, which proposes the Veterinary Medicines Regulations (VMR) 2010, is expected to come into force on 1 December 2010.

The National Office of Animal Health has said that whilst antimicrobial resistance is a serious and growing subject of discussion for the medical and veterinary professions, it does not believe that the banning of advertising of antimicrobials to farmers will reduce resistance profiles.

NOAH chief executive Phil Sketchley explained: “Whilst NOAH can understand the political pressures on the regulatory system that have brought about this proposed change, we must ensure this proposed ban does not impinge on providing farmers with essential information relating to the health and welfare of their animals. NOAH believes that good policy is based on a foundation of science and are anxious that this and future debates about antimicrobial resistance should be based on science and not politics.

"We need a holistic approach to all medicine use and by that we mean responsible promotion, responsible prescribing and responsible use of all medicines including antimicrobials. NOAH believes that prescribers and users of veterinary medicines should operate to the principle of ‘as little as possible but as much as necessary’,” he said.

“Farmers do need to be kept well briefed on the medicines they use. Promotion by our members plays a key role in this but importantly we must always remember that antimicrobial medicines for all animals are POM-V, meaning they have to be prescribed by a veterinary surgeon, and therefore it should be the vet who makes the decision on whether an antibiotic is needed,” he said.

Mr Sketchley added: “Responsible use of antimicrobials does not mean they should not be used. It means making sure that they are used as little as possible, but as much as necessary.”

The consultation can be found here: http://www.vmd.gov.uk/publications/consultations/vmr10.htm.

Anyone wishing to comment on the consultation must do so by the 10th September 2010. Please email l.shelley@vmd.defra.gsi.gov.uk.

the Fish Site Editor

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