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 Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) has today published its response to the public consultation on the Veterinary Medicines Regulations, which are updated every year.
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 controls will come into force in April 2012 and the BVA supports the use of a logo on approved websites to help consumers buy medicines from reputable sources.
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.
Commenting, Harvey Locke, President of the BVA, said:
“Without proper regulation online pharmacies could be sourcing drugs from overseas and selling counterfeit medicines that look genuine to unsuspecting pet owners. These medicines are placebos at best and dangerous at worst.
“We therefore welcome the VMD’s decision to clampdown on irresponsible online retailers and provide a clear logo for approved websites that will give pet owners confidence.
“We have also asked the VMD to put a stop to the increasing problem of prescription fraud and we hope the tighter regulation announced today will be a step towards achieving that aim.
“However, we would urge all pet owners to continue talking to their vet about sourcing medicines from the internet to make sure the right drugs are bought and administered correctly.”
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.
Commenting, Mr Locke 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.”
Notes to editors
- The Defra news release is available and the summary of responses to the VMD consultation is available on the VMD website.
- For more information please contact the BVA Media Office on 020 7908 6340 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 020 7908 6340 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or firstname.lastname@example.org