Veterinary medicines

In the UK, the Veterinary Medicines Regulations (VMRs) provide a single, comprehensive set of controls on all aspects of veterinary medicines. These regulations are revoked, consulted upon, and replaced on a regular basis to ensure that they are up-to-date and fit for purpose.

The UK VMRs are informed by the Veterinary Medicinal Products Directive 2001/82/EC (as amended) and also implement the European Commission’s Community code relating to veterinary medicinal products. In September 2014 the Commission adopted proposals for new regulations on both veterinary medicinal products and medicated feed.

The following sections include useful information and resources you can use and share with your clients:

We also have information and resources on antimicrobial resistance

Complementary medicines

BVA supports evidence-based treatment decisions which combine clinical expertise and the most recent and best available scientific evidence, and which also take into account patient circumstances and owners’ values. These are the principles of evidence-based veterinary medicine.

All treatments should have a sound scientific foundation with a pharmacological and physiological basis to their actions, which is the basis for granting a marketing authorisation for a veterinary medicine.

As such, we cannot endorse the use of any medicine or treatment making therapeutic claims which have no proven efficacy. We believe that veterinary medicinal products must be evidence-based, with any medicinal claims made by a manufacturer supported.

The BVA position on complementary medicines is now available (PDF 150 KB).

Misuse of prescriptions

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) provides guidance on controlled drugs and the misuse of drugs for the veterinary profession. VMD has also created an easy to use portal for reporting prescription misuse.

Prescribing cascade

Where no authorised veterinary medicine exists in the UK for a condition in a particular species, in order to avoid unacceptable suffering, a veterinarian responsible for an animal may treat that animal in accordance with the ‘prescribing cascade’ or simply ‘the cascade’. See the VMD guidance on prescribing unauthorised medicines.

We believe that the cascade provides much needed flexibility to allow veterinarians to treat animals where a licenced product for a condition in a particular species is not available in the UK. 

    Resources on veterinary medicines for BVA members