After June 11, the FDA’s directive Guidance for the Industry #263 will take effect. What this means is that previously over-the-counter antibiotics will not be available to producers (or anyone) except by veterinary prescription.
Experts at Texas A&M wrote, “Don’t wait. Get to know your local veterinarian now and establish a veterinarian-client-patient relationship if you expect to treat livestock in the future…”
And, while producers are continuously working to improve animal health practices and utilize antibiotics judiciously, the unavailability of antibiotics may necessitate adjustments to practices.
So, what does the new rule entail?
The Food and Drug Administration has recommended that all medically important antimicrobial drugs, regardless of delivery mechanism, be voluntarily moved under veterinary oversight or prescription marketing status.
By June 11, the labeling of any remaining over-the-counter antibiotics for livestock will be moved to prescription status and read, “Caution: Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.”
Prescription-only items will include injectable tylosin, injectable and intramammary penicillin, injectable and oral oxytetracycline, sulfadimethoxine and sulfamethazine, gentamicin, cephapirin, and cephapirin benzathine intramammary tubes.
Most vaccines, dewormers, injectable and oral nutritional supplements, ionophores, pro/prebiotics, and topical nonantibiotic treatments will not require a veterinary prescription.
This new guidance is different from the Veterinary Feed Directive
Antibiotics used in animal feed were moved to at Veterinary Feed Directive in 2017 and over-the-counter antibiotics used in drinking water were moved to prescription status at that time. The new rule applies to injectables, intramammary tubes, and boluses.
How should producers adjust their practices?
There’s never been a better time to make a plan with your veterinarian to ensure you have access to the animal health products you may need. While this doesn’t mean stocking up on extra medication, it does mean that you’ll want to have a good working relationship wtih your vet.
Producers can also analyze herd health management and protocols with their veterinarian to help pre-emptively address any herd health concerns that might be present.