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Distribution categories

Authorized small animal medicines now fall within the first four categories below and all packaging supplied by drug manufacturers and distributors was changed in 2008. Medical products not authorized for veterinary use retain their former classification (e.g. P, POM). Some nutritional supplements (nutraceuticals) are not considered medicinal products and therefore are not classified. Where a product does not have a marketing authorization it is designated ‘general sale’.

Authorized veterinary medicine – general sales list (formerly GSL). This may be sold by anyone.

Non-food animal medicine – veterinarian, pharmacist, Suitably Qualified Person (SQP) (formerly PML companion animal products and a few P products). These medicines for companion animals must be supplied by a veterinary surgeon, pharmacist or SQP. An SQP has to be registered with the Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority (AMTRA). Veterinary nurses can become SQPs but it is not automatic.

Prescription-only medicine – veterinarian, pharmacist, SQP (formerly PML livestock products, MFSX products and a few P products). These medicines for food-producing animals (including horses) can only be supplied on an oral or written veterinary prescription from a veterinary surgeon, pharmacist or SQP and can only be supplied by one of those groups of people in accordance with the prescription.

Prescription-only medicine – veterinarian (formerly POM products and a few P products). These medicines can only be supplied against a veterinary prescription that has been prepared (either orally or in writing) by a veterinary surgeon to animals under their care following a clinical assessment, and can only be supplied by a veterinary surgeon or pharmacist in accordance with the prescription.

Schedule 6 of the Veterinary Medicine Regulations 2013 (unofficially known as the Small Animal Exemption Scheme) allows for the use of medicines in certain pet species (aquarium fish, cage birds, ferrets, homing pigeons, rabbits, small rodents and terrarium animals) the active ingredient of which has been declared by the Secretary of State as not requiring veterinary control. These medicines are exempt from the requirement for a marketing authorization and are not therefore required to prove safety, quality or efficacy, but must be manufactured to the same standards as authorized medicines and are subject to pharmacovigilance reporting.

Controlled Drug. A substance controlled by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and Regulations. The CD is followed by (Schedule 1), (Schedule 2), (Schedule 3), (Schedule 4) or (Schedule 5) depending on the Schedule to The Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 (as amended) in which the preparation is included. You could be prosecuted for failure to comply with this act. Prescribers are reminded that there are additional requirements relating to the prescribing of Controlled Drugs. For more information see the at www.bsava.com.

Includes LSD, cannabis, lysergide and other drugs that are not used medicinally. Possession and supply are prohibited except in accordance with Home Office Authority.

Includes etorphine, morphine, papaveretum, pethidine, diamorphine (heroin), cocaine and amphetamine. Record all purchases and each individual supply (within 24 hours). Registers must be kept for 2 calendar years after the last entry. Drugs must be kept under safe custody (locked secure cabinet), except secobarbital. Drugs may not be destroyed except in the presence of a person authorized by the Secretary of State.

Includes buprenorphine, pentazocine, the barbiturates (e.g. pentobarbital and phenobarbital but not secobarbital – which is Schedule 2), tramadol and others. Buprenorphine, diethylpropion and temazepam must be kept under safe custody (locked secure cabinet); it is advisable that all Schedule 3 drugs are locked away. Retention of invoices for 2 years is necessary.

Includes most of the benzodiazepines (temazepam is now in Schedule 3), and androgenic and anabolic steroids (e.g. clenbuterol). Exempted from control when used in normal veterinary practice.

Includes preparations (such as several codeine products) which, because of their strength, are exempt from virtually all Controlled Drug requirements other than the retention of invoices for 2 years.

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