Sale of Animal Antibiotics & Antimicrobials Banned Without a Veterinary Prescription

Sale of Animal Antibiotics & Antimicrobials Banned Without a Veterinary Prescription


   All animal owners, including those with emus, should be aware of recent rules that prohibits the retail sale of antibiotics and antimicrobials without a veterinary prescription.  Beginning on June 11, 2023, all over-the-counter, medically important, antibiotics and antimicrobial products require a prescription from your veterinarian in order to purchase them. 

   This is part of a phased-in process that began in 2012 when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released the guidance, “The Judicious Use of Medically Important Antimicrobial Drugs in Food-Producing Animals (#209)”.

   Implementation of these new rules actually began in 2016 with the “Guidance for the Industry #213, Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD)”. That directive mandated the requirement of a prescription for fed antimicrobials, whether in water or feed. Each prescription is for a specific length of time and group of livestock.

   This newest guidance, #263 was published June 2021.  At that time it recommended sponsors of medically important antibiotics and antimicrobials voluntarily change their product labels.  The label addition is, “Caution: Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.”  Previous changes have been implemented voluntarily, so that is the process that time as well. Some of the products include oxytetracycline, penicillin, sulfa-based antibiotics, tylosin, cephaparin, lincomycin, and gentamicin.

   The FDA recommends that in order to obtain a prescription you should create a valid client-patient relationship (VCPR) with a veterinarian.  This would be a working relationship with a veterinarian or veterinary practice.  With an established relationship the veterinarian will be familiar with you and your farm, and be able to diagnose and prescribe treatment.  The prescribed product can then be purchased through the vet or through a retail or wholesale distributor.  Reach out to your veterinarian to discuss this new procedure and how best to work with your veterinarian through this necessary change.


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