Livestock producers to face more restrictions in obtaining antibiotics

Photo courtesy of Envato Elements

From staff reports

As of June 11, 2023, U.S.livestock producers will not only be able to get over-the-counter antibiotics,  will not be able to get the medication at all without a prescription from their veterinarian. 

Changes in antibiotics availability started in 2017 when the Veterinary Feed Directive went into effect that pertained to “medically important” antibiotics. These are antibiotics that are used for both human and animal medicines. The directive made it so that producers could only get the OTC antibiotics via a veterinarian prescription. Furthermore, it was only antibiotics given through feed or water. Now a new directive, “Guidance for the Industry 263” would make other antibiotic treatments available only through a veterinarian as well. Those treatments include injectables, boluses, and intramammary mastiff tubes. The guidance is being issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and at this point, it is a recommendation to companies to voluntarily transfer the drugs to a presentation marketing status and be labeled accordingly. It does not mean that producers have to purchase products from the veterinarian, but that a prescription from a veterinarian is needed. 

The Nebraska advisers said many feed and farm stores do not have the framework in place to meet the legal burden of acting as “pharmacy,” which requires the ability to review veterinary authorized prescriptions and track refills of prescription products. If they do continue to stock those products, customers will have to show a prescription prior to purchasing them.

Products unaffected by the change include ionophores; antiparaciticides; injectable and oral nutritional supplements; oral pro/prebiotics; and topical non-antibiotic treatments. These products will continue to remain available through standard OTC marketing channels.

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