UK veterinary groups ward off effort to limit sales

Jun 01, 2011

LONDON — The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) were effective in thwarting a move by members of the European Parliament to limit veterinarians' access to sell veterinary medicines directly to farmers and other animal owners.

A cross-party amendment was postponed that "invites the member states to consider restricting veterinarians from, in non-acute cases, selling veterinary medicines directly to farmers and other animal owners, thus reducing the incentive to prescribe more antimicrobials than needed."

The action led to a collaborative lobby by the veterinary groups to oppose the action. Their argument contends that evidence shows that barring veterinarians from selling medicines would not lead to reduced use or sale of antimicrobials. They also noted that the UK currently effectively regulates veterinarians' ability to prescribe and dispense medicines.

If veterinarians were limited in their ability to dispense the drugs, then livestock health and welfare may be seriously affected, the veterinary groups argued.

In a statement, Harvey Locke, president of the BVA, adds, "Restricting the ability of veterinarians to supply medicines would have little benefit but would cause significant harm to animal health and welfare. This is another stark wake-up call for members of our profession across the EU and beyond that we must not only take action on antimicrobial resistance, but we must be seen to be taking action."