Prescription rule for livestock antibiotics starts soon

As June arrives, it brings the deadline for over-the-counter (OTC) livestock antibiotics to be labeled as prescription only. When the Food and Drug Administration’s new directive goes into effect June 11, a veterinarian’s order will be required to purchase these medications.

VFD ChangesWith that implementation date fast approaching, Dr. Tony Martin, MFA Incorporated manager of animal health, reminds producers to take stock of their needs and understand what these changes will mean for their operation.

“We’ve been proactively working to make sure our locations and customers are prepared,” Martin said. “After the label change is made, MFA will no longer carry these antibiotics. That means producers will have to go to a veterinarian to get a prescription and either buy that product from their veterinarian or take it somewhere else to fulfill.”

The affected antibiotics are considered “medically important,” which means they are also used in some form to treat human disease. The FDA says the stepped-up regulations are part of a broader stewardship effort to combat resistance to these drugs by only allowing veterinarians to prescribe antibiotics when necessary.

Martin said that any remaining in-date inventory of products labeled for OTC sales will be available through MFA and affiliat­ed stores until supplies are depleted.

Producers will still be able to purchase feeds with antibiotic additives through MFA with a valid Veterinary Feed Directive as well as a full line of animal health products that do not require prescriptions, such as vaccines, dewormers, fly control, iono­phores and others. Martin also reminded producers that these restrictions are going to put even more focus on the importance of genetics, nutrition, management and preventive animal health practices.

“Minimizing stress, feeding a fully balanced diet, preventing diseases and using additives like Shield Technology to support immunity are all things producers can do to reduce the need for antibiotics,” Martin said. “I know we can’t totally do away with antibiotics in livestock production, but we can try to keep animals at a higher level of health so we will need less of them.”

READ MORE from the June/July 2023 Today’s Farmer’s Magazine, the MFA Incorporated member magazine.

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