Drug storage and dispensing

For further information on the storage and dispensing of medicines see the BSAVA Guide to the Use of Veterinary Medicines. Note that veterinary surgeons may only supply a veterinary medicine from practice premises that are registered with the RCVS and that these premises must be inspected. It is recommended that, in general, medications are kept in and dispensed in the manufacturer’s original packaging. Medicines can be adversely affected by adverse temperatures, excessive light, humidity and rough handling. Loose tablets or capsules that are repackaged from bulk containers should be dispensed in child-resistant containers and supplied with a package insert (if one exists). Tablets and capsules in foil strips should be sold in their original packaging or in a similar cardboard box for smaller quantities. Preparations for external application should be dispensed in coloured fluted bottles. Oral liquids should be dispensed in plain glass bottles with child-resistant closures.

All medicines should be labelled. The label should include:

  • The owner’s name and address
  • Identification of the animal
  • Date of supply (and, if applicable, the expiry date)
  • Product name (and strength)
  • Total quantity of the product supplied in the container
  • Instructions for dosage
  • Practice name and address
  • The name of the veterinary surgeon who prescribed the medication (if not an authorized use)
  • Any specific pharmacy precautions (including storage, disposal, handling)
  • The wording ‘Keep out of reach of children’ and ‘For animal treatment only’
  • Withdrawal period, if relevant
  • Any other necessary warnings.

The words ‘For external use only’ should be included on labels for products for topical use. All labels should be typed. If this information will not fit on a single label then it is permissible to include the information on a separate sheet.

For medicines that are not authorized for veterinary use, and even for some that are, it is useful to add to the label or on a separate information sheet the likely adverse effects, drug interactions and the action to be taken in the event of inadvertent mis-dosing or incorrect administration written in plain English. Samples of such Client Information Leaflets (shown as 'CIL' in the monographs) for many commonly used, but unauthorized, drugs are available for BSAVA members to download from www.bsavalibrary.com/content/cil/medicines.

In order to comply with the current Veterinary Medicines Regulations, records of all products supplied on prescription must be kept for 5 years. When a batch is brought into use in a practice, the batch number and date should be recorded. It is not necessary to record the batch number of each medication used for a given animal.

Owners should be informed that any unused or left over medication should be returned to the practice for safe disposal.

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