3 ways to help clients comply with the new VFD rule

Published on December 01, 2016
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Veterinary Feed Directives made easyThe new Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) takes effect in just a few weeks, and it’s time for you to help your clients prepare for the transition if you haven’t already done so.  The good news is that if you’re an AVMA member, we’ve developed resources, including a fillable form for VFD orders, that will help you.

The new rule takes effect January 1, 2017, and will regulate how medically important antibiotics — medications that are important for treating human disease — can be administered to animals in feed and drinking water. Among its provisions, it will require veterinary oversight whenever such antibiotics are administered to any food animal species via feed or water, even if the animals are not intended for food production. The FDA video below gives an overview of the new rule.

With the weeks counting down to the implementation of the new rule, here are three simple steps you can take to further help your clients.

  1. If you’re issuing a VFD in 2016 with an end date that spans into 2017, be sure it satisfies the new rule. The AVMA’s VFD resources can help you write VFD orders that comply with the new rule, and the FDA has additional guidance on its website.
  2. Talk with your clients who have livestock species – whether kept as pets or as production animals – to ensure they’re aware of the January 1, 2017, label transitions from OTC to VFD (for medicated feed and milk replacer) and  from OTC to prescription (for drugs administered through drinking water). Make sure they know that they’ll need a VFD or prescription to continue using these products in 2017 for therapeutic purposes and that they will no longer be allowed to use them for production purposes (growth promotion and feed efficiency), even if the products were available over the counter in 2016.  During your conversations, you can make arrangements to issue any needed VFDs or prescriptions for the new year.  This will ensure compliance with the new rule while also allowing clients to finish using products that were purchased OTC in 2016 but will require veterinary oversight under the new VFD rule starting in 2017.
  3. Enhance the visibility and availability of VFD information for your clients and remind them of the changes taking effect under the new rule. You know your clients and how best to reach them, but possible methods include: adding or attaching hardcopy information to receipts; posting information on your practice’s website and/or your social media feeds; mentioning the VFD in your on-hold telephone messages; writing about it in your client newsletters; or using other creative methods.


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