Farmers and animal health-care professionals are being warned to avoid stockpiling of prescription-only animal medicines, as regulatory body AMTRA (Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority) warms it is both illegal and counter-productive.
Amid isolated reports of some encouragement being made to farmers to stock up in the light of the developing coronavirus situation, AMTRA has highlighted the potential dangers to animal health and welfare, while also reminding of the legal obligations of those prescribing medicines.
Stephen Dawson, secretary general of AMTRA says, “Stocking up with prescription-only medicines such as wormers and flukicides is not appropriate, whether due to coronavirus or any other reasons.
“These medicines should be prescribed when they are needed by a Registered Animal Medicines Advisor (RAMA), also known as an SQP, or by a vet, based on the needs and circumstances at the time. These needs will vary across the year depending on a variety of reasons, including disease challenge and the weather, and from year to year.”
Mr Dawson adds, “It’s not possible to know in advance what the most appropriate medicine will be, and it could be wasted money or even counter-productive. It also means that farmers will miss out on timely advice about the best strategies for use, and reminders about safe usage and the correct administration technique.”
AMTRA states that the Veterinary Medicines Regulations make it an offence to prescribe more than the minimum amount required for the treatment. Additionally, prescribers are required to take into account the disease/condition and the responsible use of medicines – which for cattle and sheep anthelmintics means the requirement to follow the recommendations of COWS (www.cattleparasites.org.uk) and SCOPS (www.scops.org.uk).
Mr Dawson commented: “We don’t think these isolated reports are typical, but it’s a good reminder that farmers shouldn’t be looking to stock up with medicines. They will get best value from their medicines by having a proper conversation with their prescriber, at the time of need, so they can be prescribed the best choice alongside advice on how to get the most out of the medicine.”
More advice and guidance can be obtained by contacting AMTRA on 01359 245801 or www.amtra.org.uk