By Erin Laborie, Beef Systems Extension Educator
In 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implemented the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD), which brought over the counter (OTC) feed additive antibiotics under the oversight of veterinarians. As part of the FDA’s plan to support the judicious use of antibiotics, all remaining medically important OTC antibiotics will require a prescription effective June 11, 2023.
So, what does this mean for livestock producers? As of June 11, 2023, producers will have to provide a prescription from a veterinarian in order to purchase medically important antibiotics (used by both humans and animals). Some of the products that will undergo label changes to prescription-only status include oxytetracyclines (LA-200 and 300), penicillins, sulfa-based antibiotics, tylosin (Tylan 50 and 200), and cephapirin/cephapirin benzathine (ToDAY and ToMORROW). These new restrictions do not apply to non-medically important antimicrobials such as ionophores, pro/prebiotics, injectable and oral nutritional supplements, and antiparasiticides. This change does not mean that producers have to purchase these products from a veterinarian, but some farm stores or businesses may no longer offer these products due to the framework required to operate as a “pharmacy.”
Moving forward, it will be extremely important to have an established Veterinary Client Patient Relationship (VCPR). According to the Nebraska Veterinary Medicine and Surgery Practice Act, a valid VCPR means:
- The veterinarian has assumed the responsibility for making clinical judgments regarding the health of the animal and the need for medical treatment, and the client has agreed to follow the veterinarian's instructions;
- The veterinarian has sufficient knowledge of the animal to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition of the animal. This means that the veterinarian has recently seen and is personally acquainted with the keeping and care of the animal by virtue of an examination of the animal or by medically appropriate and timely visits to the premises where the animal is kept; and
- The veterinarian is readily available or has arranged for emergency coverage and for follow-up evaluation in the event of adverse reactions or the failure of the treatment regimen.
Livestock producers that already have a VCPR and purchase products through their veterinary office or other distributors with a prescription system in place will likely notice very little change. However, producers that do not consult a veterinarian on a regular basis are encouraged to establish a VCPR as soon as possible in order to have access to these products when needed