Farmers are being warned not to stock up on prescription-only animal medicines, amid the escalating coronavirus outbreak.
There have been ‘isolated reports’ of farmers being encouraged to stockpile these medicines, according to the Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority (Amtra), who warned that this is both ‘illegal’ and ‘counter-productive’.
The Veterinary Medicines Regulations state that it is an offence to prescribe more than the minimum amount required for treatment. Prescribers are also required to take into account the disease/condition and the responsible use of medicines.
Amtra secretary general Stephen Dawson said: “Stocking up with prescription-only medicines such as wormers and flukicides is not appropriate, whether due to coronavirus or any other reasons.”
He added: “We don’t think these isolated reports are typical, but it’s a good reminder that farmers shouldn’t be looking to stock up with medicines. They will get best value from their medicines by having a proper conversation with their prescriber, at the time of need, so they can be prescribed the best choice alongside advice on how to get the most out of the medicine.”
Prescription-only medicines should only be prescribed when necessary by a vet or a Registered Animal Medicines Advisor (Rama), also known as an SQP, based on the needs and circumstances at the time. Such needs will vary depending on a variety of factors including disease challenges and weather.
It is not possible to know what the most appropriate medicine will be in advance, Mr Dawson said, and attempting to stock up could be a waste of money or even counter-productive.
“It also means that farmers will miss out on timely advice about the best strategies for use, and reminders about safe usage and the correct administration technique.”