Tuesday, April 12, 2011



The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) have successfully seen off an attempt by MEPs to restrict the ability of vets to sell veterinary medicines directly to farmers and other animal owners.


Ahead of yesterdays's debate in the Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) committee on the European Parliament (EP) Resolution regarding Antimicrobial Resistance, a cross-party amendment was tabled which "Invites the Member States to consider restricting veterinarians from, in nonacute cases, selling veterinary medicines directly to farmers and other animal owners, thus reducing the incentive to prescribe more antimicrobials than needed;".


Last week the BVA coordinated with the FVE to lobby members of the AGRI committee. The BVA contacted all UK members of the committee setting out the key arguments against the amendment. In particular the BVA highlighted the following:


  • The available evidence shows that restricting vets from selling medicines would not lead to a decrease in the use or sale of antimicrobials
  • The ability of vets to prescribe and dispense medicines is already well regulated in the UK
  • Herd health planning would be hugely restricted if the veterinary surgeon cannot dispense antimicrobials
  • Health and welfare could be compromised as vets need to be able to continually monitor the successful outcome of treatment for animals under their care
  • Food animal practice in the UK could be at risk as food animal practices, particularly those in rural areas, are only financially viable as a result of the income from medicine sales


Yesterday the amendment was rejected by the AGRI committee thanks to the lobbying efforts of the BVA and FVE.


Commenting, Harvey Locke, President of the BVA, said:


"Restricting the ability of vets to supply medicines would have little benefit but would cause significant harm to animal health and welfare.


"We are therefore delighted that members of the AGRI committee listened to our significant concerns and did not support this amendment.


"However, it 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.


"The BVA is committed to the responsible use of antimicrobials and we would remind vets to follow our useful guidance on antimicrobial use."

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