Government brings in Veterinary Medicines Regulations legislation

Legislation being introduced will make regulations more effective and maintain the UK as an attractive place to market veterinary medicines

The government has today (4 March) introduced legislation to modernise the Veterinary Medicines Regulations and maintain the UK as an attractive place to develop and market veterinary medicines.

The Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2013 set out the controls on the marketing, manufacture, distribution, possession, and administration of veterinary medicines and medicated feed. They are a critical tool to help protect animal health, public health and the environment.

The legislation will implement the plans set out in the recently published government response to last year’s public consultation, which received widespread support from the veterinary medicines sector.

The new regulations seek to reduce regulatory burden and facilitate the submission of one marketing authorisation application dossier to enable common packaging to be used across the UK. 

Other changes include the introduction of measures to help tackle antimicrobial resistance by increasing restrictions on the use of antibiotics and antibiotics administered via feed.

Abi Seager, Veterinary Medicine Directorate Chief Executive Officer, said:

“I am delighted that this much-anticipated legislation has been brought to Parliament.

“I would like to thank Lord Douglas-Miller for his input, and our stakeholders for helping to shape our thinking, both in responses to our consultation and through other contributions. We eagerly await parliamentarians discussing our proposals, and we hope they support these much-needed changes.”

The new regulations build upon wider work on antimicrobial resistance outlined in the UK’s 20-year vision to contain and control antimicrobial resistance by 2040, delivered through the UK’s 5-year National Action Plan for AMR.

The recent UK-Veterinary Antimicrobial Resistance and Sales Surveillance (VARSS) Report showed that sales of antibiotics for use in food-producing animals fell by nearly 10% in the last year and have fallen by 59% since 2014.

From: Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Veterinary Medicines Directorate, and Robbie Douglas-Miller OBE