Important information from the VMD

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The “Retail of Veterinary Medicines” guidance published on gov.uk has been updated to include the VMD’s expectation of what information should be assessed by the SQP (or vet or pharmacist) prior to supply taking place. VMD state that the Enforcement team will be reviewing sales activity from January 2017 to ensure compliance.

Further information can be found on www.gov.uk/guidance/retail-of-veterinary-medicines

We suggest you print a copy, have a browse through it, and keep it handy in case you have a query.

The Enforcement team at the VMD regularly receives reports about non-compliance of the Veterinary Medicines Regulations (VMR) by vets, pharmacists and SQPs.

The minimum obligations for SQPs prescribing and supply POM-VPS and NFA-VPS medicines are set out in the SQP Code of Practice, in particular paragraphs 30 and 32.

As part of meeting those minimum obligations, for pets/companion animals VMD suggests you should gain the following minimum information:

  • species
  • number of animal(s)
  • weight (of each animal if more than one)
  • age
  • whether the animal is in general good health
  • whether the animal is pregnant or lactating
  • whether the animal is on any other medication
  • whether the customer knows how to use the product safely/effectively
  • whether the customer knows what the product is supposed to do
  • whether the customer has been provided with the warnings on the SPC

For food-producing animals (including horses), all of the above, plus:

  • What is the animal’s intended food use (milk/meat/eggs etc)
  • Does the customer know the applicable withdrawal period
  • In the case of sheep dip products, that they are satisfied that the person (or a person acting on his behalf) holds a Certificate of Competence in the Safe Use of Sheep Dips. The supply of sheep dip must be made in accordance with the legislative requirements, including, for OP dips, the supply of protective gloves and the laminated notice contained in the Regulations
  • In the case of anthelmintic products for sheep and cattle, SQPs should follow the recommendations of Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep (SCOPS – www.scops.org.uk), and the Control of Worms Sustainably (COWS – www.cattleparasites.org.uk), respectively
  • In the case of horses and other equidae, whether the animal has been declared as non-food producing in their horse passport

The other point VMD are keen to emphasise relates to disclaimers.

The requirements on the SQP (or pharmacist or vet) are non-delegable and cannot be transferred to the customer. ‘Disclaimers’ that, for example, simply inform a customer that they must answer yes or no to a list of questions will not be considered by the VMD to meet this requirement.

Disclaimers

MSD Animal Health have advised AMTRA that they have received reports about off-label prescribing by SQPs involving MSD’s products. Although this has arisen in the context of MSD’s products, the points are general and apply to all SQPs and all VPS medicines.

In order to help ensure the safety and efficacy of animal medicines, including vaccines, it is essential that all SQPs prescribe and supply responsibly and in accordance with the SPC (Summary of Product Characteristics, which forms the basis of the product literature).