Monday, June 13, 2011 - Mark Humph
Following ongoing lobbying by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and other veterinary bodies the Veterinary Medicines Directorate has dropped controversial plans for a new veterinary medicines category - POM EA (prescription-only medicine extended administration).
The proposed category has been discussed at the Veterinary Products Committee (VPC) since 2009. The original purpose was to provide a new category under which a veterinary surgeon would make a clinical assessment and, if appropriate, issue a Veterinary Permission of Extended Administration (VPEA) allowing the animal holder to obtain the prescribed POM EA medicine (from a veterinarian, pharmacist or SQP) for up to 36 months from the date of authorisation.
The BVA, along with its specialist divisions, opposed POM EA from the outset and failed to see that there was any justification for a new category. Veterinary surgeons are already able to write prescriptions for extended use and, as most health plans are reviewed annually, anything beyond a yearly assessment would be unacceptable on health and welfare grounds. An additional category would have also taken the UK even further out of step with the rest of the EU.
The BVA submitted written comments and attended a stakeholder meeting with the VMD to discuss concerns. Despite the VMD suggesting revisions to the original proposal the BVA and other stakeholders maintained that the new category was unnecessary.
Following these consultations VPC decided, at a meeting in March, not to progress the proposal any further.
Commenting, Harvey Locke, President of the BVA, said:
"We are extremely pleased that the Veterinary Products Committee has listened to our concerns and decided to drop its plans for POM EA.
"The BVA felt strongly that the proposed new category was unnecessary at best and potentially harmful to animal health and welfare at worst.
"In all fields of practice veterinary surgeons would not feel comfortable prescribing for such long periods without regular contact with the animals they care for."
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