NOAH has revised the rules for how antimicrobial medicines are promoted to farmers, as part of the annual review of its code of practice.

NOAH has revised the rules for how antimicrobial medicines are promoted to farmers, as part of the annual review of its code of practice.

pillsThe 22nd edition of its Code of Practice for the Promotion of Animal Medicines features a number of changes that will come into effect on July 1.

One change spells out the way antimicrobial medicines are promoted to farmers, with a firm emphasis on correct use and education.

From the start of July, advertisers will be required to describe the condition their product is aiming to treat, and to promote an understanding of the treatment of the disease.

The phrase “use medicines responsibly” will also have to be included in text in adverts aimed at farmers, making a voluntary strapline introduced in 2009 a formal part of the NOAH code from now on.

As with all promotions to people other than prescribers, farmers will always be reminded to consult their veterinary surgeon.

Advertising text will always have to state clearly the name of a company and the brand being promoted, and the code will state that promotion must not be designed to disguise its real nature.

Withdrawal periods for products will be stated, but these must not be unduly prominent and not in a font size greater than the body copy containing recommended dosage and species description.

The changes were proposed by NOAH within its formal response to the VMD’s consultation on the Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2010. In December, the Government decided to allow advertising of antimicrobial products to farmers to continue.

Phil Sketchley, NOAH chief executive, said: “While welcoming the Government’s decision in December not to further restrict the advertising of animal medicines, we feel that the industry should take a proactive role to ensure the system works properly. We believe it is important for farmers, who are legally responsible for the health and welfare of their animals and the food produced from them, to be aware of the medicines that are available to protect the health of their animals, and at the same time we want them to know that these medicines must be prescribed and used responsibly.

“The issue of antimicrobial resistance is one that affects us all. The way to promote best practice is through education by maintaining all lines of communication between farmers, vets, scientists and animal medicine producers.”

And he added: “Antibiotics are essential for maintaining the health and welfare of all animals, but like any medicine they need to be used responsibly in order to maintain their effectiveness, and their availability for future generations.”

The 22nd edition of the code is available to view here.


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