(SCHAUMBURG, Illinois) December 11, 2013—The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) applauds the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) changes to veterinary feed directive (VFD) regulations that will require veterinary oversight of antimicrobial use in livestock. The FDA’s Final Guidance 213 establishes a three-year timeframe for phasing out growth-promotion uses of antibiotics important in human medicine and the phasing in of veterinary oversight. The changes were announced today in Washington D.C.
“The AVMA has long advocated that greater veterinary oversight of the use of antimicrobials on the farm is a benefit to human and animal health,” said AVMA President Dr. Clark Fobian.
The new rules require that medically important antibiotics currently sold over the counter will now require a VFD, the veterinary equivalent of a prescription, from a veterinarian. Even with the VFD, any deviation in use from what is stated on the product label is illegal.
The AVMA Steering Committee for FDA Policy on Veterinary Oversight of Antimicrobials has been engaged in discussions with the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine related to veterinary oversight of antimicrobials in feed.
The AVMA is pleased that its recommendations were thoughtfully considered and that many of them are reflected in the final guidance.
Fobian said the FDA demonstrated insight and due diligence by ensuring the VFD orders:
• Are limited to use under the professional supervision of a licensed veterinarian in the course of the veterinarian’s professional practice, and in compliance with veterinary licensing and practice requirements
• Allow for greater flexibility by deferring to the profession and individual states for specific criteria on professional conduct related to veterinary supervision or oversight
• Meet animal-health needs by removing the requirement for amount of feed and instead including approximate number of animals, duration and level of drug in feed
• Afford veterinarians professional discretion in considering additional information, such as housing type, and animal age and weight, to specifically identify the animals to be treated with antimicrobials.
“The AVMA is ready to assist the USDA and the FDA in their outreach and communication efforts with stakeholders as we transition from the long history of these additives being available over the counter to the new VFD program,” Fobian said.
While the new rules provide an important first step, the AVMA has offered to assist USDA and FDA in educating veterinarians, producers and feed suppliers as they transition to comply with the new guidance over the next three years.