The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is calling on the veterinary medicines regulator to classify all anthelmintics as POM-V, meaning they can only be prescribed by a veterinary surgeon, rather than by vets and Suitably Qualified Person (SQPs) as at present.
The BVA has written to the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) to request that changes are made to the Veterinary Medicines Regulations. The BVA is also supporting the efforts of the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe in lobbying the European Commission for tighter rules to be in place across all European Member States regarding the accessibility of anthelmintics.
The BVA position is: at a time when expert opinion is increasingly alarmed at the growth in resistance to anthelmintics in grazing animals, the BVA believes that it is important that all anthelmintics be classified as POM-V so that their use is conditional on appropriate veterinary advice for all species.
Many experts in parasitology have cited the distribution of anthelmintics by SQPs in the past as one of the main reasons for the dangerous levels of resistance to anthelmintics in grazing animals in the UK at present. SQPs do not have the level of expertise that a veterinary surgeon has in veterinary parasitology.
BVA is an active member of the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) Alliance and in 2010 BVA launched a poster and detailed guidance for vets on how to prescribe and use anthelmintics responsibly. BVA’s CPD Group is also working on a programme of CPD to reinforce the responsible use of these medicines.
Commenting, Peter Jones, President of the BVA, said:
“We know that resistance to anthelmintics is a major problem that must be addressed vigorously if the livestock industry is to avoid a potentially disastrous situation of being unable to tackle parasites in grazing animals.
“Anthelmintics should only be prescribed by a veterinary surgeon who has the animals under his/her care and based on a sound clinical diagnosis.
“We strongly supported the VMD’s recent decision to continue to classify the new anthelmintic product containing monepantel as POM-V, but the UK stands alone in Europe in classifying other anthelmintics as POM-VPS.
“The UK must be brought in line with the rest of Europe and we need Europe-wide legislation to better control access to anthelmintics in order to safeguard the efficacy of these products in the future.”