The rules governing medicine use on farm are strict but fair. In this piece we aim to explain a bit more about how we do our best to secure animal and consumer health. Now more than ever, farming is under the microscope regarding animal and consumer welfare. As an industry we need not only to have the very highest standards, but crucially we need to be seen to be upholding the safety of the food we all eat for everyone. A lot of what we produce in the UK is consumed here, but we are also very heavily reliant on exports, something which is important for our routes to market for what we produce. One key area of focus is animal medicines, and for many years the UK has had a system in place which is designed to protect both animals and consumers from poor practice. This system has changed name and evolved over the years, but essentially remains a robust and, importantly, legislation-backed way of ensuring best practice. In the UK, animal medicines are broken down into categories ranging from products which can be sold by non-qualified staff, to products that only a veterinarian can supply. One classification which Agricentre specialise is are what are classed ‘POM – VPS’ products. This stands for: ‘Prescription only medicine – Veterinarian, Pharmacist & Suitably Qualified Person (SQP)’. An SQP is someone who has studied and passed an exam that is set by the Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority (AMTRA) and represents a heavy investment in both time and money to pass, for both the company and the individual. Once qualified, the SQP needs to complete Continuous Professional Development (CPD) refreshers to ensure they are up to date in terms of their knowledge and experience. This point-based system runs over a set period, with suppliers and manufacturers providing sessions throughout the year.

What Does this Mean for the Farmer?

In terms of supply, the prescription process puts in place checks and assurances that when we prescribe a product, there can be peace of mind that we have done our best to ensure you have the right product. Sometimes, especially with customers who buy less frequently or whom we know less about, we need to ask more questions to ensure we are giving the right advice.

A Case Study

We often have sheep farmers asking for a wormer. There are a multitude of questions that we need to ask to understand the situation. Questions like: How many sheep? What product was used last time? What clinical signs are they showing (do they need worming)? are all common and in many instances, especially with worming ewes, we might recommend speaking to your vet to get an idea of the challenge through faecal eggs counts or even (especially if we suspect resistance) advising getting your vet involved to do drench checks to assess what wormers are effective on your farm. All this means that, even though getting hold of a medicine might result in us asking a few more questions, we are doing it to uphold the good name of UK farm products here and abroad. The rules governing medicine use on farm are strict but fair. In this piece, we aim to explain a bit more about how we do our best to secure animal and consumer health.