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Make veterinary medicines affordable
and available say Pet Care Trust

The Pet Care Trust recently submitted its response to the public consultation on the draft Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2005, calling for animal medicines to be made more available and affordable under the new regulations.

The full submission is available on the Trust’s website www.petcare.org.uk under ‘Policy’.

The Trust welcomed many of the proposed regulations, particularly the creation of a new category of veterinary medicinal products, “Non-Food Animal-Veterinarian, Pharmacist, Merchant (NFA-VPM)”, which will open up sales of prophylactic and medicinal treatments to suitably trained and qualified employees in retail pet care.

“This is great news for pet retailers, who with suitable training will now be able to sell a wider range of animal medicines, and great news for the pet-owning public, for whom animal medicines will become more easily available,” said Janet Nunn, Chief Executive of the Pet Care Trust.

However, the Trust also warned that the regulations’ proposal to ban postal sales of prescription medicines fails to recognise new forms of retailing, such as internet and mail order sales, and could end up being detrimental to animal welfare. The Trust recommended instead that the safeguards apply to all sales of animal medicines. Purchasers should have to present through any medium a valid prescription with a live signature.

The Trust said that in some instances, postal pharmacists were able to supply drugs at a fraction of the price of regular veterinary surgeries. In one case study, a vet prescribed the drug Periactin to an equine client at £92.94 + VAT. The same drug could be supplied by mail order from a retail veterinary chemist for £0.86 + VAT.

“The bottom line is that the public should have access to veterinary medicines as safely, easily and cheaply as possible,” said Ms Nunn. “If pet owners are unable to afford veterinary medicines, it is animal welfare that suffers.”

“It’s great that government have decided to consolidate and update existing veterinary medicines regulations, but while they’re at it, they should use plain English to describe the categories,” added Ms Nunn.