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Legal requirements

  • Under current veterinary medicine regulations in the UK there are three main categories of drugs:
    • NFA-VPS: Medicines for non-food (companion) animals that must be supplied by a veterinary surgeon, pharmacist or suitable qualified person (SQP). A SQP has to be registered with the Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority (AMTRA) and can be a veterinary nurse, but this is not automatic.
    • POM-VPS: can only be supplied on an oral or written veterinary prescription from a veterinarian, pharmacist or SQP and can only be supplied by one of those groups of people.
    • POM-V: can only be supplied against an oral or written veterinary prescription 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. Veterinary Surgeons can only supply a veterinary medicine from a practice premises that are registered with the RCVS and are inspected.
  • All dispensed drugs must be correctly labeled.
  • Records of all products supplied on prescription must be kept for 5 years.

The label should use mechanically printed lettering.

  • Specific legal requirements for information to be included on labels are:
    • Name, address and telephone number of the veterinary surgeon or pharmacy supplying the medication.
    • The name of the veterinary surgeon prescribing it.
    • Name and address of the owner or keeper for whom the medication is to be dispensed (or the premises where the animal is kept if different from that of the owner).
    • The identification of the animal or group of animals.
    • Date of supply.
    • Expiry date if applicable.
    • The name or description of the product which should include the quantity of active ingredient(s).
    • Dosage and administration instructions.
    • Any necessary warnings for the use, target species, administration or disposal of the product. 
    • The words 'For animal treatment only'.
    • The words 'Keep out of the sight and reach of children'.
    • The words 'For external use' or 'Not to be taken internally' for topical preparations.

It is preferable for a label to be printed or must be written in indelible ink.

Labels for medication to be used in food producing animals must include the relevant withdrawal period, even if there is none.

Other important points

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Further Reading


Refereed papers

Other sources of information

  • Snell M (2007) Ed Medicines, Ethics and Practice: a Guide for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians. 31st edn. Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. ISBN: 0853697442.
  • Bishop Y (2005) The Veterinary Formulary. 6th edn. Pharmaceutical Press in Association with BVA (including the BVA Code of Practice on Medicines). ISBN: 0853695792.
  • Tennant B (2005) BSAVA Small Animal Formulary. 5th edn. British Small Animal Veterinary Association. ISBN: 0905214889.


Prescription writing

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