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

Homeopathic medicines

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

We will be reviewing and updating our position on homeopathic medicines and complementary and alternative therapies in the first quarter of 2018.

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