The Food and Drug Administration has approved another use of a drug by veterinary feed directive—the use of the antimicrobial florfenicol in swine feed to control respiratory tract disease.
The Animal Drug Availability Act of 1996 created the category of VFD drugs. Previously, over-the-counter and prescription animal drugs were the only categories by which the FDA could regulate distribution.
The agency found that regulation of medicated feeds under traditional prescription systems was unworkable. The application of state pharmacy laws to medicated feeds would burden state pharmacy boards and impose costs on feed manufacturers to such an extent that making these drugs available would be impractical. Nevertheless, the FDA determined that it should approve certain new animal drugs for use in feed only under a veterinarian's order rather than over the counter.
In 1996, the ADAA established a new class of drugs for restricted feed use that do not invoke state pharmacy laws upon distribution. Afterward, the FDA approved the first use of a drug by veterinary feed directive—the use of the antimicrobial tilmicosin in swine feed to control respiratory tract disease. In late 2005, the agency approved the use of florfenicol in catfish feed to control deaths caused by enteric septicemia.
Additional information about VFD drugs is available from the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine at www.fda.gov. More details about the use of florfenicol in swine feed appeared in the Dec. 4 issue of the Federal Register, online at www.gpoaccess.gov/.