There have been some changes to the laws controlling Restricted Veterinary Medicines (RVMs), which have ramifications for all farmers with production animals. New Zealand is one of the lowest users of antibiotics in food producing animals in the world, and we need to be able to prove and document this. The increasing emergence of antibiotic resistance in humans and animals is another important factor in the control of these drugs.
Anexa FVC supports the prudent use of antimicrobials, and as such has an obligation to ensure appropriate drug use within the Agricultural Compounds Veterinary Medicine (ACVM) act and New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) prescribing guidelines. Vet Council guidelines stipulate that we can only dispense RVM’s where we have sufficient knowledge of the animal/farm/stock.
Therefore, we have to have been on their property and witnessed their stock recently. This means that, in order for farmers to be able to collect antibiotics, for use on an individual animal or for future use, without us seeing each animal to be treated, we need to complete a RVM consultation every 12 months. This consultation will update us with your current stock numbers, farm system and drug requirements and you will receive a RVM booklet with all the data sheets of the drugs on your script. This booklet needs to be kept with any RVMs stored on the farm and be available for inspection by MPI. If we have visited your farm in the last 12 months we can do the RVM consultation in the clinic or over the phone, but if we have not been on your property in the last year, then the RVM consultation should be done on farm.
There are some antibiotics which we can no longer script for future use as these drugs have been classified by the World Health Organisation as “critically important for human health”. Therefore in the veterinary industry, we should be limiting their use and using less ‘important’ antibiotics if possible, in order to ensure that these antibiotics remain viable for treating infections in humans. We can continue to prescribe these drugs for individual animals if we consider them to be the only option.
These changes bring New Zealand into line with prescribing laws in Europe which have been in existence for at least 10 years. This will maintain our access to markets and to demonstrate our compliance with current global antibiotic governance.