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UK Government advances Veterinary Medicines Regulations to foster innovation and combat antimicrobial resistance

UK Government advances Veterinary Medicines Regulations to foster innovation and combat antimicrobial resistance


New legislation streamlines regulations, supports common packaging, and addresses antimicrobial resistance, ensuring a vibrant veterinary medicines market in the UK

The UK government has introduced legislation on March 4, 2024, to modernise the Veterinary Medicines Regulations, aiming to maintain the country's appeal as a hub for the development and marketing of veterinary medicines.

The Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2013 play a crucial role in controlling the marketing, manufacture, distribution, possession, and administration of veterinary medicines and medicated feed. The introduced legislation aligns with the government's response to last year's public consultation, receiving widespread support from the veterinary medicines sector.

Key changes under the new regulations include streamlining processes to reduce regulatory burdens and facilitating the submission of a single marketing authorisation application dossier. This move allows for the use of common packaging across the UK.

Additionally, the legislation introduces measures to combat antimicrobial resistance by imposing stricter restrictions on the use of antibiotics and antibiotics administered via feed. These changes align with the UK's 20-year vision to contain and control antimicrobial resistance by 2040, outlined in the 5-year National Action Plan for AMR.

Abi Seager, Veterinary Medicine Directorate Chief Executive Officer, expressed delight at the legislation's introduction, thanking stakeholders and Lord Douglas-Miller for their contributions. The proposed changes are seen as crucial and eagerly anticipated for the veterinary medicines sector.

The legislation builds upon broader efforts to address antimicrobial resistance, as indicated by the recent UK-Veterinary Antimicrobial Resistance and Sales Surveillance (VARSS) Report. The report highlighted a nearly 10% reduction in antibiotic sales for food-producing animals over the past year and a substantial 59% decrease since 2014.

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) leads in regulatory and policy matters related to the use and manufacture of veterinary medicines and medicated feed in the UK, further emphasising the significance of these legislative updates in ensuring the health and safety of animals, public health, and the environment.