The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has welcomed the decision to prohibit the advertising of antimicrobials directly to animal keepers from 2013 in a bid to reduce antimicrobial resistance. 

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), which regulates veterinary medicines in the UK, announced that the Veterinary Medicines Regulations will be revised next year to take account of the change which the BVA has been calling for. The change has come as a result of the European Commission's view that the UK did not correctly transpose the European Directive 2001/82/EC which prohibits the advertising of certain veterinary medicinal products to the 'general public'.

When the VMD consulted on proposals to restrict the advertising of antimicrobials to farmers in 2010 the BVA supported the measure as a sensible approach to the responsible use of antimicrobials.

In a letter to stakeholders the VMD explains that "A number of interested parties from veterinary medicine hold the view that the advertising of antibiotics to keepers of animals leads to undue pressure to prescribe newer antibiotics, which can often be important in human medicine and are associated with the development of multiple resistances."

Commenting, Peter Jones, President of the BVA, said:

"The BVA has consistently argued for the restriction of advertising of antimicrobials to animal keepers and we believe this is the right decision.

"New antimicrobials are heavily advertised by pharmaceutical companies and there can be undue pressure put on veterinary surgeons by clients who want to try new products that promise good results, but which may not be appropriate from the point of view of responsible use.

"Antimicrobial resistance is a very serious issue for both animal and human health and we are pleased that the European Commission and the VMD have taken the view that the Regulations need to be revised.

"Ultimately, it is the veterinary surgeon who will make the decision on which veterinary products to use and vets will continue to work with their farm clients to ensure antimicrobials are used prudently and responsibly."

(Source: bva.org.uk)